7th Feb 2008: Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (simplified Chinese: 春节; traditional Chinese: 春節; pinyin: Chūnjié), or the Lunar New Year (simplified Chinese: 农历新年; traditional Chinese: 農曆新年; pinyin: Nónglì xīnnián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an important holiday in East Asia. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival (simplified Chinese: 元宵节; traditional Chinese: 元宵節; pinyin: yuánxiāojié). Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī (除夕). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "Eve".
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.