Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival(元宵节), which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade(游行).
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar(月亮的) and solar(太阳的) movements. The lunar cycle(周期) is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up"(追上) 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(闰年). This is why, according to the solar calendar(阳历), the Chinese New Year falls on(落在) a different date each year.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted(突出，使显著) with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors(祖先).
The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital(至关重要的) of all the rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying(铺设) the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.
The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset(开始，开端) of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast(筵席) called "surrounding the stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honors the past and present generations.