Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese culture, which means most families begin preparing well in advance. It's not uncommon for people to begin preparing a month, or even two months, before the celebrations begin. If you're interested in celebrating, this step-by-step guide will help you get ready for Chinese New Year.

1. Go to the Fortune Teller

One fun way to find out what lies ahead in the new year is to find your Chinese fortune. In Chinese culture, knowing your zodiac sign, your element and if your predisposition is hot, cold, or neutral are all used to find out what your year may be like.

2. Get a Hair Cut

Cutting anything during Chinese New Year is considered bad luck. So, if you think you'll be in need of a trim, make sure you do it before Chinese New Year to avoid looking sloppy during the holiday.

3. Clean the House

Getting organized and doing a thorough spring cleaning are required tasks to be complete by Chinese New Year.

Every nook and cranny of the home is to be crubbed, broken furniture and appliances discarded and dirt is to be swept toward the door to ensure Chinese New Year starts off right. Some families also adhere to Chinese New Year feng shui practices, which creates energy to attract positive things into your life. In addition, Chinese families hang chunlian, which are paper couplets, round the doorway to their home to usher in good luck.

4. Go Shopping

Before Chinese New Year arrives, the following items must be bought: food for the Chinese New Year celebrations, new clothes to usher in the New Year, gifts and red envelopes to distribute to family and friends. Red symbolizes luck, and red envelopes, which are often decorated with gold Chinese characters. The envelopes are given as gifts containing money for friends, family members and coworkers. It is customary to give a gift if you are visiting someone's home during Chinese New Year, so be sure to plan accordingly and purchase or make gifts for those you may be visiting.

When it comes to the food, you may want to plan a traditional meal, complete with symbolic foods. In Chinese culture, serving a whole chicken symbolizes family togetherness, spring rolls symbolize wealth, and noodles symbolize a long life. Plan your meal ahead of time, and go to the store prepared with a list.

When it comes to celebrating Chinese New Year, remember: start planning early in order to finish before Chinese New Year arrives, and encourage the entire family to get involved to make preparations easier and faster. But the most important thing to remember is to enjoy the holiday!