China has hundreds of dialectical groups spread all over the vast country. Fortunately they share one common writing, although read differently by the various groups. However almost all Chinese in China can read and speak the "common lingo" which is similar to Shanghainese which you will hear in China. It is now called Mandarin Chinese. With global diaspora of the Chinese people all over the world, the Chinese people are actually a very diverse group. Different dialects and different provinces would have their unique traditions.
Be that as it may, the most common traditional activities and celebrations during the Chinese New Year are :
Spring cleaning for the coming new year
Decorating the homes
Family reunion dinners
Wear new clothes and dresses
Giving of red packets (containing money) to juniors and elderlies
A time to rejoice and set aside any negative events
Visiting friends and relatives
Time for lion dances and dragon dances
Visiting places of worship
Fireworks and fire crackers
The general atmosphere is to have a good and happy time, at least for the next 15 days!
By the way Chinese New Year falls on Sunday 10 February 2013. This is the year of the snake. Water snake, to be exact.
It is heartening to note that nowadays, the West is more aware of the celebrations of other communities. I think the Chinese New Year celebration is the biggest and longest. In modern times, the "going home" commuting is a headache, especially in China,
On this Chinese Lunar New Year, in China alone, 1.3 billion people will be celebrating this important Spring Festival. And in Taiwan, 23 million people. What about the overseas Chinese spread across the globe? Their number is estimated at 40 million. It is certainly one of the most widely celebrated events in the world, both in numbers and geographical areas.