The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by nian of which the term guo nian was derived. Many Buddhists abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed to ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year's Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the days before. On this day, it is considered bad luck to use the broom, as good fortune is not to be "swept away" symbolically.
Our Moscow correspondent, Tom Parftt, reports that Russian revellers are expected to gather in Red Square, where there will be a firework display over the Kremlin later. He writes: "In Moscow, where snow is falling as the temperature hovers around -7C, shoppers are making their last desperate purchases before rushing home to their families. New Year is a more important event for Russians than Christmas – a low-key event marked on January 7 according to the pre-revolutionary Julian calendar – and gifts are put under a tree on December 31st, just as they are in the West on December 25th."