The Year of the Monkey
* The Chinese New Year of the Monkey began on 8 February 2016.
* It is year 4714 on the Chinese Calendar.
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* Chinese New Year is the main Chinese festival of the year.
* As the Chinese use the Lunar calendar for their festivals the date of Chinese New Year changes from year to year.
* Traditionally celebrations last for fifteen days, ending on the
date of the full moon. In China the public holiday lasts for three days and this is the biggest celebration of the year.
Diwali is perhaps the most well-known of the Hindu festivals.
The word Diwali means 'rows of lighted lamps'. Diwali is known as the 'festival of lights' because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas
For many Indians this five day festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. People start the new business year at Diwali, and some Hindus will say prayers to the goddess for a successful year. Lamps are lit to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people's homes.
In Britain, as in India, the festival is a time for:
* spring-cleaning the home,
* wearing new clothes
* exchanging gifts (often sweets and dried fruits) and preparing festive meals
* decorating buildings with fancy lights.
* huge firework displays often celebrate Divali.