Chinese New Year 2012: Millions Celebrate as Auspicious Year of Dragon Roars in China [PHOTOS]

on January 24 2012 7:20 AM

Chinese communities across the world celebrated the first day of the lunar year and of their New Year, on Monday, Jan. 23. Considered the luckiest of Chinese years, the Year of the Dragon re-started, after a traditional 12-year cycle.

Millions of Chinese nationals traveled back home, to celebrate the New Year in a traditional manner, with their family and friends. In addition, there were also celebrations across the world, which began with fireworks displays and ended with a feast of different kinds of foods.

People from Beijing to Bangkok and Seoul to Singapore, hoping for good luck, success and happiness in this Dragon year, are visiting temples and lighting incense sticks and setting off firecrackers and watching street performances. In New York City's Chinatown district, people set off 600,000 rounds of firecrackers to celebrate the New Year.

The events and festivities were attended by the city's Senator, Kristen Gillibrand, who, along with other officials, wished everyone a Happy New Year.

Incidentally, in Chinese mythology, the dragon is considered a very auspicious sign.

The Chinese New Year festivities traditionally last for 15 days. The festival begins on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar and ends on the date of the full moon.

This year the holidays started on Monday, Jan. 23 and will run until Monday, February 6.

Also Read: Chinese New Year 2012: Rabbit Makes Way for Dragon [PHOTOS]

Chinese New Year 2012

Local residents eat free porridge around a table with dragon graphic at a temple during the Laba Festival in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, January 1, 2012. The Laba Festival, which falls on the eighth day of the 12th Chinese lunar month, commemorates the date of Sakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment. The tradition of eating "laba porridge" is believed to bring good fortune. Reuters

Chinese New Year 2012

The Chinese New Year celebration is expected to increase strong demand for gold in Asia, according to industry experts. Reuters

Chinese New Year 2012

People walk past a dragon decoration on a pedestrian overhead bridge ahead of the Lunar New Year in Singapore January 16, 2012. In the year of the Black Water Dragon, investors could get torched again if they leap back into the market too soon. But the outlook is expected to brighten considerably later in the year. In a world of economic turmoil that's scorched investors, it's tough to make predictions, but that's the forecast for Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index if one follows the principles of feng shui - the ancient Chinese art, or science, based on 'Qi', the natural flow of energy - according to brokerage CLSA. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon. Picture taken January 16, 2012. Reuters

Chinese New Year 2012

Divers perform a dragon dance during an event to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Shanghai aquarium, January 19, 2012. In the year of the Black Water Dragon, investors could get torched again if they leap back into the market too soon. But the outlook is expected to brighten considerably later in the year. In a world of economic turmoil that's scorched investors, it's tough to make predictions, but that's the forecast for Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index if one follows the principles of feng shui - the ancient Chinese art, or science, based on 'Qi', the natural flow of energy - according to brokerage CLSA. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. Picture taken January 19, 2012. Reuters

Chinese New Year 2012

Workers clean the roof of a Chinese temple ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations in Jakarta January 21, 2012. The Lunar New Year begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. Reuters

Chinese New Year 2012

The leader of dragon dance performers lifts up a dragon head during the opening ceremony of a Spring Festival Temple Fair to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at Longtan Park in Beijing, January 22, 2012. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. The Longtan Temple Fair starts January 22 and continues until January 29. Reuters

Chinese New Year 2012

Amateur artists perform a fire show to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk January 22, 2012. The Lunar New Year begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. Picture taken with a long exposure. Reuters

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