On Sunday, people around the world celebrated the Lunar New Year - the most
important festival on the Chinese calendar.
Hundreds flocked to this
300-year-old temple in Beijing, braving freezing temperatures and
As is tradition, they burned incense and prayed for a
In the Philippines, hundreds crowded into Manilla's Chinatown to mark
the Lunar New Year - and bid farewell to the Year of the Dragon.
Many hoped the year would bring smoother relations between China and
its neighbor, which are locked in a series of territorial disputes.
Lunar Year celebrations will last for 15 days. Celebrations include
temple fairs and traditional performance and craft activities.
Chinese worshipers rose early on Sunday to offer prayers at
temples on the first day of the Year of the Snake.
Thousands of people
flocked to Beijing's ancient Yonghegong Lama Temple, braving freezing
temperatures and hangovers to be one of the first to burn an incense
Some lit bunches of incense and kowtowed three times in front of
the temple's many halls, while others threw huge piles into urns of fire in the
crowded temple courtyard.
The 300-year-old Lama Temple is the most
important center of Tibetan Buddhism in the ancient capital.
took turns hitting a giant bell with a giant hammer, a custom that many believe
will ward off evil and bring luck and longevity for the year ahead.
one of the temple's inner courtyards, people threw coins at an ancient urn.
Getting a coin through one of the windows in the top is said to fulfill wishes
for the coming year.
The Year of the Dragon ended on Saturday night with countless thunderous fireworks displays across the
The Lunar New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese
calendar, as it is often the only holiday in the year that they get to escape
work and spend time with families and relatives.