Friday is the 2014 Lunar New Year, the start of the calendar in several nations around the world, particularly in Asia, which is influenced by Buddhism.
The Lunar New Year is recognized in Korea, Tibet, Mongolia and Vietnam among other countries.
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As opposed to the Western or Gregorian calendar, which celebrates the New Year every Jan. 1, the Lunar New Year varies due to the fact that it is based on the orbit of the moon around the Earth, as opposed to the Earth's 365.24-day orbit around the sun. That .24 fraction of a day is the reason why the Western calendar has leap years.
For many in the West, the Lunar New Year is associated primarily with the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.
This year's Chinese New Year celebrates the Year of the Horse. According to Chinese tradition, people born this year are said to have the characteristics of a horse: active, energetic, and social.
In China, the Lunar New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice.
As with all New Year celebrations, the Year of the Horse will be welcomed with a riotous display of fireworks and countless firecrackers across China and in Chinese communities around the world. The loud blasts are believed to bring good luck and scare off evil spirits, Reuters reported
In addition to the celebrations, China’s Lunar New Year will also give way to a massive migration, much like Thanksgiving and Christmas does in the U.S. The Lunar New Year lasts 15 days, ending this year on Valentine's Day.
The Associated Press reported that in anticipation of the Lunar New Year
, some 3.6 billion trips of all lengths by bus, plane and train are expected prior to and during the celebrations, with 8 million travelers expected to pass through Hong Kong's borders alone.
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