While most of us have welcomed the New Year on 1 January, the Chinese are yet to celebrate theirs. The Chinese New Year, which falls on Monday, 8 February, this year, is a seven day festival and this time it's the Year of the Fire Monkey.

It is believed that people who are born in the Year of the Monkey are quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous, but also it is one of the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar.

Also known as the Spring Festival, the celebration starts from the evening, preceding the first day, and continues till the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the first calendar month. It is one of the major holidays for the Chinese.

Not only in China, but the Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries with significant Chinese populations as well. It is prosperously celebrated in countries and territories like Mainland China, HongKong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius and the Philippines.

Interestingly, the New Year period is considered to be equivalent of American Thanksgiving in China. Even London celebrates the Chinese New Year in a big way, and thus it is the biggest celebration outside Asia.

People are ready to welcome the Chinese New Year with prosperity and luck. Check out the above slideshow of Chinese New Year picture messages to send to your loved ones.