February 3, 2011 is the start of the Chinese New Year and it is the year of the Rabbit. The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar phases of the moon rather than the Gregorian solar calendar, which is based upon 365 days in a year. A complete lunar cycle takes 60 years with five cycles of 12 years. Each year is named after an animal.
The Chinese New Year has a history of being the most important event on the calendar and it is sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival. Traditionally, the holiday is a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. Although regional traditions vary it is typically a time to bring families together for feasting. One tradition is for the family to thoroughly clean the house in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and bring good luck for the coming year.