New Year celebrations are among the oldest festivals in history. The date celebrated varies widely according to the country and its religions beliefs, customs, and calendar system. This stamp design features two Chinese characters that read (in English) "Year of the Rooster." Each Chinese year is popularly represented by one of 12 animals from the Chinese Zodiac. People around the world have many ways of welcoming in the New Year. Scotland celebrates its holiday with great feasts, while the French exchange gifts. The traditional Western practice is to gather at midnight on New Year's Eve and drink a toast to the coming year. Chinese festivities last 15 days, culminating with the elaborate parade during the Lantern Festival. It also is customary to settle all debts and obligations in order to begin the new year with a clean slate, give gifts, and honor ancestors.