Chinese Lunar New Year 2013

Yesterday marked the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year 2013, the Year of the Snake. One of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, the snake signifies cleverness and tenacity and is associated with the element of fire. In the larger Chinese astrological cycle, this year is also associated with the element of water, which makes 2013 the Year of the Water Snake. The combination of the water and fire elements may signify turmoil in the months ahead. But people around the world ushered in the new year with displays of fireworks, family get-togethers, temple visits, and street festivals. Collected here are images from several countries where revelers have been welcoming the arrival of the Water Snake.
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1. A man watches as fireworks light up the skyline of Shanghai in celebration of Chinese New Year in Shanghai, on February 10, 2013. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on February 10 and marks the start of the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac.




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2. Fireworks illuminate the skyline to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year, on February 9, 2013 in Beijing, China.




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3. Worshipers burn incense to pray for good fortune on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Dafo temple in Chongqing municipality, on February 10, 2013.




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4. A performer passes a snake through his nose and out his mouth during a show at a fair as part of lunar new year festivities at the Temple of Earth park in Beijing, on February 11, 2013. A billion-plus Asians ushered in the lunar Year of the Snake with a week of festivities.




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5. A snake decoration along a street in preparation for the Chinese New Year of the Snake, in Chinatown in Singapore, on January 29, 2013.




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6. An Indonesian worker dries colored circle incense sticks prepared for Chinese New Year celebrations, in Tangerang on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 4, 2013.




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7. A Chinese actor dressed as Qing Dynasty emperor, center, sits on a sedan chair during a rehearsal of an ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony ahead of the Chinese New Year at Ditan Park in Beijing, on February 8, 2013.




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8. Folk artists on stilts prepare for their performance during a Spring Festival Temple Fair celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, on February 11, 2013.




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9. Tourists visit the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, China on the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, February 11, 2013.




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10. A child held by his father cries as he holds an umbrella in the snow at the Shanghai Railway Station, on February 8, 2013 in Shanghai. Millions of Chinese are expected to cram onto China's train network in the coming weeks to return home for the Chinese Lunar New Year.




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11. Trees decorated with red lanterns ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations during the opening ceremony of the Spring Festival Temple Fair at the Temple of Earth park in Beijing, on February 9, 2013.




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12. Chinese Cambodian men and women perform a dragon dance to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at the river bank in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on February 9, 2013.




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13. Worshippers burn incense as part of lunar new year festivities at the Yonghegong lama temple in Beijing, on February 11, 2013.




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14. Visitors burns joss sticks at Longhua Temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year in Shanghai, on February 10, 2013.




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15. A woman takes picture with her mobile phone as visitors admire the illuminations during the Zigong International Lantern Festival in conjunction with the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations in Zigong in southwest China's Sichuan province, on February 3, 2013.




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16. Fireworks explode over Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple with lighting decorations as part of the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations in Penang Island, northwestern Malaysia, on February 6, 2013.




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17. A diver performs the dragon dance during the special program for celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year at Beijing Aquarium, on February 10, 2013.




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18. An Indonesian man of Chinese descent holds up a bottle of oil as an offering as he and others pray in the smoke filled Vihara Dharma Bhakti temple on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New year, February 10, 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia.




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19. A performer dressed as a Qing dynasty emperor prays in an ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune, during the temple fair at Ditan Park, in Beijing, on February 9, 2013.




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20. An ethnic Chinese worships ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, on February 9, 2013.




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21. A man sets off fireworks as residents celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year in Shanghai, on February 9, 2013.




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22. An assistant shop clerk works near a newly unveiled gold snake on display for sale ahead of the upcoming Chinese lunar new year, the year of the Snake, at a jewelry shop in Hong Kong, on January 18, 2013. The 380 gram-gold snake is for sale for HK$200,000 (US$25,800).




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23. People scramble to catch cash and other gifts thrown by a Chinese-owned business establishment in celebration of Chinese New Year in the Chinatown district of Binondo in Manila, Philippines, on February 10, 2013.




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24. A man throws molten iron while dancers perform a dragon dance in the shower of molten iron spewing firework-like sparks, during a folk art performance to celebrate traditional Chinese Spring Festival at an amusement park in Beijing, on February 10, 2013.




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25. Dancers perform a fire dragon dance in the shower of molten iron to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, on February 10, 2013.




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26. A man runs with firecrackers on a street in Beijing, on February 10, 2013.




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27. Chinese women cover their ears as fireworks light up a residential area during the Eve of Chinese New Year in Beijing, on February 9, 2013.




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28. Fireworks illuminate the city's skyline in Hong Kong, on February 11, 2013. The Chinese lunar new year, which this year marks the year of the snake, was celebrated by Chinese communities the world over.




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29. Fireworks explode over the Victoria Harbour to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, on February 11, 2013.