You may already know that Chinese calendar is lunar calendar. If so, you have only known half of it. Chinese Calendar that was used in before Zhou Dynasty was pure lunar calendar. However, since Zhou dynasty (11 contrary B.C.), the sophisticated astrologers introduced leap month, it has become a solar-lunar calendar. It is also called Yin-yang calendar. This is what we are using today. It not only accurately predicts full moon, but also predicts the solstice and equinox correctly. 

The preparation of Chinese new year starts from La-Ba, the eighth day of the twelfth month. At this day, the family get together, have a big meal with a special yummy rice soup as the main course. Then the preparation of new year starts. Shopping, decoration and making new cloths. They ancient people sure made a lots of beacon and other cured meat during this period because the twelfth month is also referred to as the 'month of smoke (meat)'. 
The celebration of Chinese new year ends with the first full moon of the new year. At this night, every body  goes to the park to see the lanterns.  It is not only a big bright night of crafts show but a good time to show off you cloths, jewelries and talents. Many Lanterns have riddles and small prize on them. 

The earliest new year in last century was 1966, January 21st. It will also be the earliest new year of this century 2061 and 2099. The latest new year in last century was 1920 and 1985, February 20th. The latest new year of this century will be 2015, 2034, 2053, 2072 February 19th.