Legend has it that Buddha invited all the animals to his kingdom, but only 12 attended. Because of that, Buddha dedicated a year to each animal. People born would from then on would inherit some of the animal’s characteristics, depending on which year they were born.
On the eve of the New Year, all family members attend a “reunion dinner”. The next day visits are paid to temples to offer prayers of good luck for the coming year. Unmarried youngsters are given red packets called ang pows, containing money. The festivities last for 15 days, ending with a bang on the last day, commonly known in Hokkien as Chap Go Mei.