When is Chinese New Year and what animal sign is 2016?

The North East's Chinese population are getting ready for their biggest celebration of the year - and many of us are looking forward to joining in.
Chinese New Year celebrations.Chinese New Year celebrations.
Chinese New Year celebrations.

The happy time, also known as Spring Festival, is calculated using the Chinese lunisolar calendar, so the date varies each year and takes place some time between 21 January and February 20.

This year it falls on Monday February 8, when the Year of the Monkey will begin.

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Chinese New Year celebrations tend to start the day before and continue until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new year.

Organised events are taking place around the region, and many people will be joining the celebrations in more informal ways at home, particularly by eating ever-popular Chinese food.

Monkey babies

People born in the Year of the Monkey are said to be sociable, curious, playful and clever - but also mischievous, and can unintentionally hurt people's feelings.

Gentleness, honesty, an impetuous temper, and a tendency to look down upon others are among other character traits said to be present in those born in the Year of the Monkey.

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Famous people born under the monkey sign include Miley Cyrus, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci and Charles Dickens.

Previous years of the monkey: