I have learned that this is not just Chinese New Year. All over Asia, people celebrate this as the biggest holiday of the year. It is called lunar New Year because it is calculated by the first full moon after the winter's solstice. And I think, because it removes the Chinese ethnicity confusion. It is celebrated in many other countries and by many non-Han and non-Chinese people.
This is the year of the Dog, according to the Asian astrology charts. If you want to read more about this, go to Wikipedia to read about the Lunar New Year, and follow fun links to information about the Year of the Dog. A few surprising people who were born in previous years of the Dog are Bill Clinton, and George W. and Laura Bush, as well as Elvis Presley and Sylvester Stallone. That's pretty diverse if you ask me.
There are exciting celebrations if you are lucky enough to live in a city with a large Asian population, like San Francisco, Boston/Quincy, or New York. At our law school, our Asian Law Student organization puts on a celebration as well. Pretty cool, very fun and educational, too.
This great photo of a dragon dancer is courtesy of http://www.skphoton.com/albums/Chinese-Dragon-Dance/Front_of_Dragon_2.jpg