Answers to Six Popular Job Interview Questions

jobinterviewJob interviews can be daunting even for the most qualified candidates. It’s easy to iron a shirt, get a haircut and be on time, but the real legwork is prepping for intimidating interview questions. While every company has a different hiring style, many tend to use tried-and-true interview questions (it’s no wonder these questions are among our top content on Answers.com). Are you preparing for an upcoming interview? Check out our answers to six popular job interview questions:

  • Describe yourself. It’s open-ended, yes. But keep it focused on traits that match what the employer is looking for.
  • Why did you leave your last job? Resist the temptation to bash your boss. Instead talk about how this company will give you opportunities your old company couldn’t.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? The trick is to talk about your weaknesses so that they can also appear to be a strength. Try to tailor your responses to the job you are applying for.
  • Why should we hire you?  Uncover your interviewer’s greatest wants and needs and then list your achievements and traits that match those needs.

Do you have more tips for job interviews? Share them with us in the comments.

Know Your Super Bowl Trivia?

football browniesWhether you watch it for the game, the commercials or the halftime show, the Super Bowl is must-see TV. Super Bowl Sunday has become a de facto American holiday and chances are you’ll be among the 110+ million sitting around a TV come February 3.

Super Bowl questions reign supreme on Answers.com this time of year. Before you chow down on wings and nachos, brush up on your NFL trivia with these popular questions about Super Bowl 47:

How many people watch the Super Bowl?

Which NFL teams have never played in a Super Bowl?

Has a rookie quarterback ever gone to the Super Bowl?

Which NFL team has won the most Super Bowls?

Which city has hosted the most Super Bowl games?

What NFL player has the most Super Bowl rings?

How much do NFL players get paid for winning the Super Bowl?

Does the losing team of the Super Bowl receive rings?

This year’s big game is a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl champs five times) and the Baltimore Ravens (one-time Super Bowl winners). Who do you think will take home the Vince Lombardi trophy? Tell us in the comments.

Five facts about Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Jr.This week the US celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. The civil rights leader is perhaps most famous for his “I have a dream” speech, delivered to more than 200,000 people in Washington on August 28, 1963. That March on Washington was influential in the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In honor of MLK Day (January 21) here are five facts you might not know about the iconic civil rights leader:

  1. Martin was born as Michael King. His father, Martin Luther King, Sr., was also born with the name Michael but changed it to Martin when he was 22. He intended his son to also be Martin but claims that the birth certificate stated the wrong name. MLK Jr. never legally changed his name so he died as Michael King.
  2. Martin was only 26 years old when he led the Montgomery bus boycott.
  3. Martin wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail in the margins of a newspaper because that is the only paper he had.
  4. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, but did you know five years before that he was stabbed with a letter opener by a homeless woman?
  5. The most well known part of Martin’s celebrated speech, “I have a dream,” were improvised.

Illinois was the first state to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday. Not until 2000 did all 50 states follow suit, with Utah being the last to recognize the holiday. Martin’s birthday was January 15 but the US celebrates the leader on the third Monday of January every year.

Most Anticipated Celebrity Babies of 2013

kimkardashianCelebrity pregnancies are a hot topic on Answers.com. You’re always curious about what stars are expecting and when. Maybe it’s the “they’re just like us” factor that entices us. Is it reassuring to see A-listers suffer from morning sickness and excessive weight gain just like us? Or maybe it’s simpler than that and no one can resist a sweet newborn, celebrity or not. Either way, here’s our list of the most anticipated celeb babies of 2013.

The royal offspring of Prince William and his commoner-turned-duchess wife, Kate Middleton, tops our list of the most highly anticipated celebrity baby due to arrive in 2013. Rockstar progeny are a dime a dozen. A tot heir to the throne? Now that doesn’t happen often. Kate is due in early summer with the child that will be the future king or queen of England.

What do you get when you mix the DNA of Hollywood’s most overexposed reality star and a narcissistic rapper? Kimye, the nickname of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West‘s baby-to-be. Kanye announced the pregnancy at an Atlantic City concert in December and the Internet has been abuzz since. Get this — Kim’s divorce from Kris Humphries (remember their infamous 72-day marriage?) won’t even be finalized by the time the baby is born. Oy. Prepare yourselves for an onslaught of coverage about this babe.

Who else is expecting a bundle of joy in 2013? People Magazine’s sexiest man alive, Channing Tatum, will become a father in 2013. Jenna Bush, daughter of former president George W. Bush, is pregnant with her first baby and due in spring. And Jessica Simpson announced her second pregnancy, only seven months after giving birth to her daughter, Maxwell.

Any other celeb babies we missed that you’re anticipating? Check out more Q&A on Answers.com’s celebrity pregnancy category page.

Top 10 Pop Culture Halloween Costumes for 2012

Thinking of dressing up as a witch or vampire this Halloween? You’re not alone. Witch, vampire and pirate getups are the three most popular costumes this Halloween season, according to the National Retail Federation. But if you want to look beyond the broomstick, think about costume ideas based on pop culture and current events from 2012.

Here are 10 ideas for pop culture Halloween costumes this year:

1. Gangnam Style

PSY’s Gangnam Style, a rap song that parodies an upscale district in Seoul, South Korea, is 2012′s biggest viral video. Throw on some shades, tuxedo and sneakers and enter your Halloween party doing the horse-riding dance and you’re a shoe-in for best costume of the night.

2. President Obama or Mitt Romney

It’s election day just six days after Halloween. Dressing up as the incumbent or his rival is sure to spark a debate amongst your friends, especially if you bring along a birth certificate or tax return.

3. Big Bird

Everyone is rallying behind Sesame Street’s main personality, after Mitt Romney proposed cutting PBS funding in the first presidential debate. Buy a bunch of yellow boas to fashion a Big Bird costume, and be prepared to entertain the kids.

4. Lost Tourist using Apple Maps

Apple Maps, part of the new iOS6, is notoriously bad. Hospitals are misnamed as supermarkets, bridges plunge into water and entire cities disappear. (CEO Tim Cook had to issue an apology about it all.) So it’s not all that far fetched to dress up as a hypothetical tourist, lost from using Apple Maps. Or, even better, don a black turtleneck and be Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave.

5. Olympian McKayla Maroney

Alright, so you can dress up as any of the Fab Five, or maybe Ryan Lochte if you’re comfortable in a speedo. But our pick for the best Olympian costume would be gymnast Mckayla Maroney of “Mckayla’s not impressed” meme fame. A leotard, tight ponytail and pursed, unapproving lips are all you need for this costume.

6. The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen or Effie Trinket

If you’re a fan of going all out for Halloween, Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games is your girl. White hair, gaudy makeup and outlandish clothing will make you an Effie lookalike. Minimal more your style? Channel Katniss Everdeen’s hunter chic with some cargo pants, boots and braided hair. Don’t forget your bow and arrow.

7. Prince Harry

What happened in Vegas is all over the Internet for this royal. A Prince Harry costume? Hmm, how about boxers and a beer can? Not much creativity is required to mimic the party boy.

8. Justin & Selena

If you need a couples costume idea, try lovebirds Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Shaggy hair and hightops for Biebs, wavy locks and boho chic clothes for Selena are all you need. Oh and memorizing the lyrics to “Baby” wouldn’t hurt.

9. Sam Shakusky & Suzy Bishop

Hipper than Justin & Selena? Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom featured a quirky young couple in love. Wear a scouting uniform for Sam Shakusky, and a vintage pink dress for Suzy Bishop.

10. Snooki’s baby boy Lorenzo

Slather on some fake tanning lotion, pop in a pacifier, and you’re set! Alright, we’re sorry Lorenzo, you’re pretty cute.

What do you think of our ideas? If you have any of your own pop culture themed costume ideas, let us know in the comments. If nothing struck your fancy from this list, don’t worry. Answers.com contributors have your back. Check out the answer to What are some good Halloween costume ideas? for tons of ideas.

Year in Review: Our Top Questions of 2011

2011 is winding down and you know what that means — time for our year in review! Take a look back on current events from the past 365 days and what questions and answers you clicked on the most.

January: The NFL playoffs were in full swing, which made our top question this month What is the date for Super Bowl 2011? (The Packers defeated the Steelers 31-25.) Another popular in January was Where can you play Angry Birds online? Apparently the smartphone app wasn’t enough to satisfy our desire to slingshot birds at greedy pigs. During post-holiday January, you were also curious about When should you take down your Christmas tree and decorations? Answers vary from New Year’s Day, to the Epiphany (Jan. 6) to whenever those needles look so dry they could be a fire hazard!

February: Even though Charlie Sheen was #winning the TV news cycle in February, the Green Bay Packers dominated Answers.com traffic. Two of our top questions for February this year asked about the Green and Gold including: How many Super Bowls have the Green Bay Packers won? (Answer: 6), What does the G stand for on a Green Bay Packer helmet? (Answer: Greatness).

March: The death of iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor prompted many of you to wonder, Where are Elizabeth Taylor’s children now? Our minds also turned to those in Japan and the staggering death toll from the March 11 Sendai earthquake and tsunami. How many people died in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011? Answer: 15,841

April: Love was in the air this month as Prince William wed Kate Middleton, making royalty-related queries spike in popularity. Some of our top questions this month were: What is the full name of Prince William?, What is Queen Elizabeth’s last name? and When did Princess Diana and Prince Charles get married?

May: The world’s most wanted terrorist was killed by American soldiers on May 2, making How did Osama bin Laden die? an obvious top question for this month. Harold Camping predicted the Rapture on May 21 this year (and hey look, we’re still here!). Whether or not you believed his end times prediction, you were asking about it — When is the world going to end? was a very popular query in May.

June: Summer arrived in the Northern Hemisphere meaning BBQs, vacations and swimming! As a result, you were curious to ask: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a saltwater swimming pool? And since we were baring more skin by the pool or on the beach, the question What is the easiest way to get rid of lower stomach fat? shot up in popularity.

July: Sports fans dread July for its lull in activity so they might want to cover their eyes when reading the answer to this top question: On which two days of the year are no professional sports games played — MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL? The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on July 15 had you wondering about all things wizardly. As such, What are the seven Horcruxes in the Harry Potter series? earned a spot on our top question list in July.

August: Pop star Beyonce revealed her baby bump at the Video Music Awards this month so When did Beyonce get pregnant? racked up the page views. And even in the depths of summer, many of you were still on the job hunt thanks to the recession. Two popular job-related queries this month were: How do you answer ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses’ in a job interview? and How do you answer ‘Describe yourself’ in an interview?

September: For some odd reason, What was the largest crocodile ever captured? made our high-traffic list this month. On a more serious note, the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 was on all our minds. The #1 question for September was How many people died in the September 11 attacks?

October: Iconic innovator Steve Jobs died this month, leading many of you to ask Who are Steve Jobs’ children? The
release of Paranormal Activity 3 also had you wondering Is the movie ‘Paranormal Activity’ based on a true story? — another to question during the month of Halloween.

November: Americans prepped for Thanksgiving with the most important of questions: How do you cook a turkey? and How long do you defrost a frozen turkey in the refrigerator?

December: Kids turned to Answers.com this month for answers to life’s most urgent questions: What is Santa’s address? and more importantly, Is Santa Claus real?

So what do you think of this year’s top questions? Predictable? Surprising? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Five tips for saving on summer travel

Summer has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere. The warm sun probably has you itching to plan a getaway and high gas prices won’t deter you one bit. You’re not alone: 59 percent of Americans plan to travel this summer (up 8 percent from last year). Whether by car, bus, train or plane, travel can be costly. Here are five tips from Answers.com on how to save on your summer travel this year:

  • Sign up for airline and hotel Twitter feeds. Often travel companies will post exclusive deals to their social media fans.
  • Try something off the beaten beach or amusement park path, maybe a lesser known national park, to find lower prices not to mention less crowds.
  • Be flexible with your travel days. Airfare is usually cheaper midweek than on weekends. Prices also spike around holidays like 4th of July and Labor Day, so plan accordingly.
  • Live like a  local: rent an apartment or house instead of staying in a hotel room to save big bucks.
  • Fly from a smaller, regional airport. And don’t check a bag!

For more tips, watch this Video Answer from CBS Money Watch. Then, tell us in the comments where you plan to jet off to this summer!

Beyond the Necktie: Great Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is this Sunday in most countries. Haven’t gotten a gift or party plan to celebrate Dad? The Answers.com community is here to help.

First, check out the answer to What are some gift ideas for Father’s Day? You’ll notice that some of the best are free or homemade: a card, a hug, a meal, a car wash. Try not to pressure yourself to buy something extravagant for your dad this Father’s Day. It’s likely he just wants to spend time with you and feel appreciated.

Still can’t figure out what to do? You can also turn to Video Answers for some great gift ideas beyond the typical necktie.

Tell us your Father’s Day gift ideas in the comments!

Summer’s here! Five facts about Memorial Day.

Considered the unofficial kick off to the summer season, Memorial Day is often associated with the beach, barbeques and sales. But there’s much more to this federal holiday than a day off of work.

Memorial Day is held in commemoration of US citizens who have died in war. So before you slather on that sunscreen and head to the pool, take a moment to learn about the rich history of this American holiday.

1. Memorial Day was first held in 1868 when John A. Logan, a general in the Union Army during the Civil War, asked his soldiers to decorate the graves of their fallen compatriots.

2. Memorial Day is also known as Decoration Day, referring to the decorations and flowers placed on the soldiers’ graves.

3. After World War I, the holiday was extended to encompass all Americans who have died in war, not just those in the Civil War.

4. In 2000, President Bill Clinton declared that a moment of silence should be held at 3 p.m. EST each Memorial Day. Official services are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (pictured at the right) in Arlington, Virginia.

5. Since 1950, by congressional request, Memorial Day is also set aside to pray for permanent peace.

Read more about Memorial Day on Answers.com or ask your own questions in our Memorial Day category. Oh, and have a great summer!

Five inspirational quotes from Oprah Winfrey.

Considered to be the world’s most influential woman, Oprah Winfrey is ending her 25-year reign as the queen of daytime talk television this week. The final Oprah Winfrey show will air today, May 25, 2011. Oprah will then focus on her new cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

In her quarter century on national TV, Oprah has hosted thousands of guests — from presidents to Michael Jackson — and doled out plenty of wisdom along the way. Here are five examples of  inspirational words from this extraordinary woman:

Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.

I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism and sexism.

My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Read more about Oprah and her life story on Answers.com and ask your own questions here.

Mother’s Day Gifts: It’s the thought that counts.

If there ever was a holiday to not forget, it’s Mother’s Day. But sometimes it can feel overwhelming to think about giving a gift to someone so important. How do you celebrate the woman who gave you life? Our Answers.com contributors have some ideas for you. Check out the answers to these Mother’s Day questions:

And remember, you don’t have to buy something material. Take this advice from Answers.com contributor and employee, Myra:

“I never understood, as a kid, why my mom would get choked up when I made her a homemade card. Now that I am a mom myself, I finally get it. It sounds cliche, but it really is the thought that counts. Just let her know you appreciate her.” – Myra, our WikiAnswers Associate Quality Coordinator (and mother of two)

If you’re still looking for more gift ideas, watch this clip from the Video Answers library for some inspiration. Then let us know in the comments how you celebrated your Mom this year!

6 human anatomical parts named after people

It’s one thing to have a building or bridge named after you. But a body part? Pretty sweet. Check out these six body parts named after people:

1. Fallopian Tube

Named after Italian anatomist Gabriele Falloppio.

2. Sideburns

Named after American Civil War Union General Ambrose Burnside.

3. G-Spot

Named after German-born physician Ernst Gräfenberg.

4. Achilles tendon

Named after Greek mythological character Achilles.

5. Cowper’s gland

Named after anatomist William Cowper.

6. Adam’s apple

Named after Adam of the Bible.

Check out the full list at Answers.com.

6 quotes from Carol Burnett

Comedian Carol Burnett celebrated her 78th birthday this week.  The Texas native is best known for her variety show on CBS, The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for 278 episodes. Interestingly enough, the redhead was always insecure about her appearance, causing her mother to say: “You can always write, no matter what you look like.” Ouch. Even so, we’re glad she stuck with TV!

Here are some of our favorite Carol Burnett quotes over the years:

“Comedy is a tragedy plus time.”

“I think we’re here for each other.”

“Because nobody goes through life without a scar.”

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

“Adolescence is just one big walking pimple.”

“I was once asked to do my Tarzan yell at Bergdorf Goodman, and a guard burst in with a gun! Now I only do it under controlled circumstance.”

Of course, you can learn more about Carol Burnett at Answers.com.

Five fun facts about animal crackers.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! No matter your age, animal crackers are a fun snack to eat. But how much do you know about these slightly sweet treats? Check out five deliciously interesting facts:

  1. The original purpose of the string on the Animal Crackers box was so that it could be hung as a Christmas ornament on the tree.
  2. A box of Animal Crackers sold for 5 cents in 1902.
  3. Animal Crackers originated in England where they were known as animal biscuits.
  4. 54 different animals have been transformed into animal crackers. The most popular brand, Barnum’s Animal Crackers, has featured 37 different animals since 1902.
  5. Shirley Temple’s 1935 song “Animal Crackers in My Soup” was used by different companies advertising their brands of animal crackers.

Discover more about animal crackers on Answers.com.

Chew on this: 6 facts about jerky.

Jerky is a popular snack enjoyed by adventurers of all kinds: hikers, astronauts and road trippers. But even if you aren’t scaling a mountain or planning a trip to the moon, you can enjoy this chewy meat treat anytime. Jerky comes in all flavors ‒ smoky, sweet, spicy ‒ and types ‒ beef, ostrich, even alligator.

Here are six more jerky facts to gnaw on: 

1. The word “jerky” comes from the Quechua term charqui, meaning “to burn (meat).”
2. Types of meat “jerkied” include: bovine, pork, goat, mutton or lamb, deer, elk, caribou, kudu, springbok, kangaroo, bison, moose, turkey, ostrich, salmon, alligator, tuna, emu and horse.
3. Most fat must be removed from the meat before the jerky process can begin because fat won’t dry and can become rancid.
4. Many European Union countries currently prohibit the importing of meat products like jerky, requiring extensive customs documentation and inspections.
5. In Ethiopia jerky is known as qwant’a.
6. Astronauts have packed jerky for space flights since 1996, citing the snack’s high nutrition level and light weight.

Read more about this road trip staple on Answers.com.

Five fun facts about jellybeans.

Jellybeans. Do you eat them one at a time or grab a handful? Either way, these chewy candies are quite yummy and often show up in Easter baskets. Brush up on your jellybean trivia with these five fun facts:

  1. In the 1910s and early 1920s, the word “jellybean” referred to a young man who put a lot of great effort in to dressing stylishly. The word later became synonymous with the term pimp.
  2. Jellybeans have made a trip in a space shuttle.
  3. A series of Harry Potter jellybeans featured flavors like dirt, earwax, pepper, and vomit. Mmmm.
  4. A precursor to the jellybean was advertised as early as 1861 as a candy gift for soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
  5. The blueberry-flavored Jelly Belly jellybean was created especially for President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981.

Read more about jellybeans on Answers.com.

10 Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes.

Forty-three years ago this month, the iconic civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Rey on the balcony of a motel room in Memphis, Tennessee. The son of a Baptist preacher, MLK was the most visible and celebrated symbol of the civil rights movement.

He is perhaps most famous for his “I have a dream” speech, delivered to more than 200,000 people in Washington on August 28, 1963. That March on Washington was influential in the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

His memory lives on with inspirational quotes like these:

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

“We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.”

Learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. at Answers.com.

5 fantastic Dr. Seuss facts.

Oh, the words you’ll read!

The pictures you’ll see!

For yesterday was the anniversary

of the wonderful, whimsical Seuss!

Yesterday, March 2nd, was the birthdate of Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Who, as a kid, didn’t love being read the rhyming lines of his imagination? And who as an adult doesn’t cherish reading his books to younger folks?

Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and died in 1991 at age 87 in San Diego, California. His birthday was made the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading.

Find out more about the one doctor kids love to see:

  1. Commonly known as Dr. Seuss, Geisel had other pen names, including Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone, and Theophrastus Seuss.
  2. Talk about serving your country! During World War II, he served as the commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces.
  3. Seuss’ first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by publishers 27 times.
  4. Dr. Seuss’s honors include: two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize.
  5. While at Dartmouth, Geisel was caught drinking gin with friends, violating national Prohibition laws of the time; as a result, he was resigned from his extracurricular activities, including the college’s humor magazine. However, Geisel continued to write for it under the pen name “Seuss.”

Find out more on Answers.com, with Dr. Seuss quotes on Holy Kaw.

Top 10 official (and fun) state foods.

Who’s hungry? I suppose that depends where in the United States you are. Every state has an official food – or a few. There are official state nuts, fruits, grains, pies, deserts and even… jellies.

Here are some of the more fun, odd and delicious of the official state foods:

  1. Illinois
    State Snack Food: popcorn. Simple, clean fun Illinois – way to go!
  2. Texas
    State Pepper: Jalapeño. Don’t mess with Texas.
  3. Tennessee
    State Fruit: Tomato. So is that tomay-to or tomah-to in Tennessee?
  4. North Carolina
    State Blue Berry: I’m not even going to spell this out for you.
  5. Utah
    State Snack Food: Jell-O.
  6. New York
    State muffin: I’m just going to say it’s awesome that they have a state muffin. Oh, and it’s apple, if you couldn’t figure it out.
  7. Massachusetts
    State doughnut: Boston cream (six points for originality, Massachusetts).
  8. Georgia
    State Vegetable: Vidalia Sweet Onion. Someone ought to teach Georgia how to have a little fun.
  9. Oklahoma
    State – actually, entire meal: barbecued pork, biscuits, sausages and gravy, grits, squash, are we full yet? And the State Vegetable (yes, vegetable): watermelon.
  10. Louisiana
    State Jelly: make that jelliesMayhawhaw jelly and Louisiana sugar cane jelly.

And the apple wins for most popular State Fruit. Nothing like an American classic.

Check out more at Holy Kaw! and Answers.com, of course.

5 fascinating facts about the Chinese New Year.

Happy new year! Sure, it’s February, but we’re not talking about the Gregorian new year. Today marks the first day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. So pull up a chair to the reunion dinner, have some Niangao, open a red envelope, dance with a dragon and read on for more fascinating facts about celebrating this new year festival.

  1. Party like it’s 15 days! And you thought the week between Christmas and New Years is long. This  new year festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar, which is a lunisolar calendar, and ends with the Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day.
  2. Think traveling the week of Thanksgiving is tough? The largest human migration happens during the month around Chinese New Year due to the travel of migrant workers in China and Chinese ex-pats around the world arriving home for the traditional reunion family dinners on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Did you know? There are more intercity trips taken inside mainland China for this celebration than the total population of China itself.
  3. Spring cleaning come early. Days before the celebration begins, Chinese families give their homes a deep clean. The belief is that the cleaning helps sweep away any bad luck from the outgoing year, making homes ready for the new year’s good luck. But it’s not all work and no play: brooms are shoved aside on the first new year’s day so as not to sweep away incoming good luck.
  4. When else could you dance with a lion? Dragon and lion dances are a fun, colorful feature for the Chinese New Year. Loud drum beats and cymbals, together with the faces of the dragon or lion dancing, rid us of the evil spirits. Fun fact: Lion dances are also a popular activity for business openings in Hong Kong.
  5. It’s not just China. Wherever a sizable Chinese population can be found, so can Chinese New Year. That includes Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and others in the region. In addition, although it’s not an official holiday there, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations in Australia, Canada and the United States. Even the mail gets into it: the Australia Post, Canada Post, and the US Postal Service all issue New Year’s themed stamps.

Read more fascinating facts about the Chinese New Year on Answers.com. Check out the Answer of the Day for more Chinese New Year trivia: Do the Japanese and Chinese have the same zodiacal calendar?