Chinese New Year celebrations

Published February 8, 2016
Traditional dancers perform the lion dance during the opening ceremony of a temple fair. ─ Reuters
Traditional dancers perform the lion dance during the opening ceremony of a temple fair. ─ Reuters
An Indonesian ethnic Chinese walks inside a temple  during the celebration of the Lunar New Year at the China Town in Jakarta, Indonesia. ─ AP
An Indonesian ethnic Chinese walks inside a temple during the celebration of the Lunar New Year at the China Town in Jakarta, Indonesia. ─ AP
An Indonesian ethnic Chinese man lights incense sticks during the celebration of the Lunar New Year at Dharma Bakti Temple at the China Town in Jakarta, Indonesia. ─ AP
An Indonesian ethnic Chinese man lights incense sticks during the celebration of the Lunar New Year at Dharma Bakti Temple at the China Town in Jakarta, Indonesia. ─ AP
People burn incense as they pray for good fortune at the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year, at Wuyou temple in Leshan, Sichuan province, February 8, 2016. ─ Reuters
People burn incense as they pray for good fortune at the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year, at Wuyou temple in Leshan, Sichuan province, February 8, 2016. ─ Reuters
Performers dressed as a Qing Dynasty servants participate in the ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair in Ditan Park during the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. ─ AP
Performers dressed as a Qing Dynasty servants participate in the ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair in Ditan Park during the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. ─ AP
A Chinese dancer dressed in traditional costume performs a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair. ─ AP
A Chinese dancer dressed in traditional costume performs a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair. ─ AP
People burn incense as they pray for good fortune on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. ─ Reuters
People burn incense as they pray for good fortune on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. ─ Reuters
A lion dancer receives a red envelope, called "ang pao", containing money during a celebration of the Chinese New Year in Manila's Chinatown. ─ Reuters
A lion dancer receives a red envelope, called "ang pao", containing money during a celebration of the Chinese New Year in Manila's Chinatown. ─ Reuters
Performers participate in a lion dance at Ditan Park to mark the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. ─ AP
Performers participate in a lion dance at Ditan Park to mark the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. ─ AP
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costumes perform a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair. ─ AP
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costumes perform a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair. ─ AP
People burn incense as they pray for good fortune at the beginning of the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year. ─ Reuters
People burn incense as they pray for good fortune at the beginning of the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year. ─ Reuters
Young ethnic Malaysian-Chinese boys dressed in traditional outfits play on a statue at the Guan Di Temple. ─ AFP
Young ethnic Malaysian-Chinese boys dressed in traditional outfits play on a statue at the Guan Di Temple. ─ AFP
Qi Xue’en, right, a performer dressed as a Qing Dynasty emperor, participates in the ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair. ─ AP
Qi Xue’en, right, a performer dressed as a Qing Dynasty emperor, participates in the ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair. ─ AP

BEIJING: Chinese flocked to temples and fairs to pray for good health and fortune on Monday, the first day of the Lunar New Year.

In Beijing, hundreds of thousands of people visited traditional fairs held in parks, as well as Buddhist and Taoist temples offering singing and dance performances and open-air markets selling handicrafts.

Monday marks the first day of the Year of the Monkey ─ the ninth animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar.

The weeklong holiday, known as the Spring Festival in China, is focused on family reunion and is a time when students and migrant workers return to their hometowns.

It is the country's most important holiday, equivalent to Christmas for many in the West.

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