The Chinese New Year marked its start on Monday, Jan. 23... and while the Chinese people welcomed the New Year with Dragon and Lion dances, traditional festive sights commonly seen at these times were to be seen everywhere.

The most spectacular of these, perhaps, was a woman who swallowed a live snake, on stage!

The spellbinding incident took place at the temple fair in Ditan Park, where acts of magic and feats of unusual physical abilities were showcased.

Incidentally, swallowing snake to welcome the New Year is not a radically new feat. The same thing happened last year, if various reports on the Internet are to be believed.

The year ahead - 2012 - will be the Year of the Black Dragon (also called the Water Dragon or the Black Water Dragon) and could be one of transformation and improvement, according to Feng Shui experts. Additionally, the year will also be one of new opportunities at work or relationships.

Finally, Chinese Astrologers have also advised people to take a step back and re-evaluate situations with patience and to expect the unexpected.

Check Out Photographs of the Woman Swallowing a Snake: