Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Chinese Year of the Rabbit begins!

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
 For many Asian-Americans, today marks the start of the Chinese lunar calendar but in other time zones things are already hopping. In China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea, the Chinese New Year was ushered in with family gatherings and fireworks extravaganzas – an age-old custom to ward off evil spirits and beckon good fortune.

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

The night parade in Hong Kong, featured performers pushing a rabbit-shaped decorated float, celebrating the Year of the Rabbit.

AP Photo/Wally Santana
Smiling under a prayer lantern at the Longshan temple is a Taiwanese woman celebrating the Chinese lunar new year in Taipei, Taiwan. The final day of the 15-day celebration that surrounds Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is known as the Lantern Festival. On this day, decorative lanterns are hung all over homes and businesses -- inside and out. Some of them are lit while others made of paper and printed by children are used as holiday decor.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

It is customary for Buddhist believers to gather at a temple where they vie and place incense sticks in an urn at midnight, marking an auspicious start to the new year. Seen here are Buddhists from Singapore waiting their turn.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
AP Photo/Bikas Das

Dressed in hare gear, to the left, are children from the Philippines, reacting to a performance during festivities at Manila’s Chinatown district of Binondo. Also decked out in pink, at right, is a Chinese dragon dancing in an alley during celebrations marking the Chinese New Year in Calcutta, India. Calcutta has a small Chinese community that made an entry into the city in the late 18th century.

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