15 февраля 2013 14:23

Lunar New Year celebrations in China

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A billion-plus Asians ushered in the Year of the Snake with a cacophony of fireworks, after a Chinese televised gala featuring megastars including Celine Dion kicked off a week of festivities.

From Australia to South Korea, millions of people travelled huge distances to reunite with their families for Lunar New Year -- the most important holiday of the year for many in Asia -- indulging in feasts and celebrations.

As the clock struck midnight, Beijing's skyline lit up with colour as residents braved freezing temperatures to set off fireworks, traditionally believed to ward off evil spirits -- a scene repeated across China.

In China the snake has traditionally been seen as a symbol of wisdom, wealth and longevity, but it is considered less auspicious than other animals in the 12-year Chinese Zodiac such as the Dragon.

The New Year typically marks the largest annual movement of people as millions of people across China and other Asian countries squeeze into packed trains and buses to journey home to spend the season with their families.
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