Lanterns, Monkeys and Dragons: Lunar New Year Prep Begins

Revelers will celebrate Lunar New Year and the year of the monkey on Feb. 8, 2016, with activities, dances, and lantern festivals. It's part of the Spring Festival, which encourages family reunions and is expected to prompt more than 2.9 billion trips around China during the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, which kicked off on Jan. 24, Chinese authorities estimated. Vendors are also rising to the occasion selling monkey stuffed-animals, traditional Chinese lanterns, and other new year inspired merchandise.

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A Chinese dancer dressed in the traditional costume performs a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Feb. 8, 2016.
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Performers participate in a lion dance at Ditan Park to mark the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Feb. 8, 2016.
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Chinese dancers in traditional costume take a selfie backstage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Feb. 8, 2016.
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People pray to celebrate on the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Thien Hau Temple on Feb. 7, 2016, in Los Angeles.
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North Korean students skip rope as they gather on the plaza in front of the ice rink for Lunar New Year in Pyongyang, North Korea, Feb. 8, 2016. North Korea's state media triumphantly announced in a special news bulletin to the nation on Feb. 7, 2016, it had successfully launched a satellite into orbit, calling it a major milestone in the nation's history and the "greatest gift of loyalty" to the country's leader, Kim Jong Un.
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Children pray on the first day of Lunar New Year celebrations at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb. 8, 2016.
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A man holds a prayer offering tray on the first day of Lunar New Year celebrations at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb. 8, 2016.
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Dragon and lion dancers perform amidst exploding firecrackers in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year Feb. 8, 2016 at Manila's Chinatown district in Manila, Philippines.
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Traditional Chinese lanterns illuminates the evening skies on the eve of Lunar New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb. 7, 2016. The Lunar New Year which falls on Feb. 8 this year marks the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese calendar.
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A worker carries red lanterns to hang to welcome the upcoming Spring Festival in Tongxiang City on Feb. 3, 2016 in Jiaxing, China. More than 2,000 red lanterns are hung in lines in south China's Jiaxing of Zhejiang Province to welcome Chinese Spring Festival.
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People walk under hundreds of Chinese red lanterns in Chinatown in Surakarta, Indonesia ahead of Lunar New Year, Feb. 3, 2016.
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A gold monkey figurine sits on display at a Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. jewelry store in Hong Kong on Feb. 2, 2016. China's imports of gold from Hong Kong surged 67 percent to the highest level in more than two years in December. The run-up to Chinese New Year in February, the peak demand season.
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A man dressed as Monkey King carries a Monkey King Bar as he performs with small sharks under water to celebrate Spring Festival at Zuohai Seafloor World on Feb. 2, 2016 in Fuzhou, China.
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A hand-written Fai Chun is made for purchasing an authentic Chinese New Year tradition on Feb. 4, 2016 in Hong Kong.
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Villagers perform a fire dragon dance to celebrate the upcoming Spring Festival in Majingao Town on Feb. 2, 2016 in Jishou, Hunan Province of China. Fire dragon dance is a traditional celebration activity of Miao Nationality in southwest China which gets performed to pray favorable weather and good harvests.
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Citizens take photo in front of a monkey decoration before Beijing department store on the Wangfujing street.
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Visitors pass by the trees decorated with red lanterns for the upcoming Spring Festival at the Temple of Earth park on Feb. 2, 2016 in Beijing, China.
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Nicasio Magdaraog, 57, maker of lion and dragon dance costumes, paints his creations in front of a Buddhist temple ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations at the China town district in Manila on Feb. 4, 2016.
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A vendor arranges toys featuring monkey designs on sale for Lunar New Year inside a store in the Chinatown area of Singapore, on Feb. 3, 2016.
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A tourist walks past an arrangement of traditional Chinese lanterns ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jan. 27, 2016.
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A Chinese man, dressed as the legendary Monkey God of Chinese folklore adjusts his mask and prepares before a show at Seacon Square in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 3, 2016.
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Women take pictures of trees decorated with light installation for the upcoming Lunar New Year at a shopping mall in Beijing, Feb. 1, 2016.
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A man carries a child on his back at GuangZhou South Railway Station as they head back home for the upcoming Spring Festival on Feb. 3, 2016 in Guangzhou, China.
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Workers set up Chinese lanterns to decorate on a street ahead of the Lunar New Year in Beijing, Jan. 31, 2016.
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Soft toy monkeys are on a display rack for sale ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb. 4, 2016.
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Visitors hold joss sticks as they offer prayer at a temple in China Town in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Jan. 30, 2016.
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A customer stands in front of peach blossom branches on sale for Lunar New Year in the Chinatown area of Singapore, on Feb. 3, 2016.
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A tourist lies on the floor cast with shadows of traditional Chinese lanterns ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jan. 27, 2016.
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A customer purchases a tangerine plant, which represents wealth, at an annual market in Hong Kong, Feb. 3, 2016.
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Performers test their lion dance costume ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations at the China town district in Manila on Feb. 4, 2016.
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Customers look at decorations for Lunar New Year inside a store in the Chinatown area of Singapore, on Feb. 3, 2016.
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A man writes Chinese calligraphy inside ahead of Lunar New Year at a store in the Chinatown area of Singapore, on Feb. 3, 2016.
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A set of newly unveiled gold monkeys are on display for sale ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year at a jewelry shop in Hong Kong, Feb. 3, 2016.
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A woman rushes to a train to travel to her hometown for the Lunar New Year holiday in Changzhou on Feb. 4, 2016.
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A vendor arranges decorations for Lunar New Year inside a stall in the Chinatown area of Singapore on Feb. 3, 2016.
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Passengers wait for trains at GuangZhou South Railway Station as they head back home for the upcoming Spring Festival on Feb. 3, 2016 in Guangzhou, China.
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Pedestrians walk under red lanterns in the Chinatown area of Singapore on Feb. 3, 2016. The city's financial markets will close on Feb. 8 for the Lunar New Year holidays and resume trading on Feb. 10.
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