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February 7, 2011

Chinese New Year, 2011

The Lunar New Year, or more accurately the lunisolar new year, began February 3 and in most countries that celebrate it ushered in the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac. In China Lunar New Year is the most important date on the calendar and triggers over a month of holiday travel which is often described as the largest annual human migration in the world. Hundreds of millions tax the transport system. The new year also marks the beginning of the Spring Festival in China which continues until the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day. Lunar New Year is celebrated in many countries, with many different traditions as well. Gathered here are pictures of China's travel wave and celebrations, as well as pictures from other countries' Lunar New Year observations. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)

An artist performs at Xuanwu Lake Park to greet the Chinese New Year February 2, 2011 in Nanjing, China. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

Passengers queue to board their trains at a station in Taiyuan, China, in Shanxi Province, January 19, 2011. The annual Spring Festival travel rush is up 11.6 percent over last year, according to the Ministry of Transport. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A man points at the train schedule at Shanghai's railway station February 1, 2011. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

A boy runs to board a train at Guangzhou station January 30, 2011. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images) #

A passenger sleeps in a train from Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, to Baotou, a city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, at the Beijing West Railway Station January 28, 2011. January 19 marked the beginning of the annual Spring Festival travel rush. (Jason Lee/Reuters) #

A woman carries a sleeping child to a waiting area at Guangzhou station January 30, 2011. The movement of hundreds of millions of Chinese for the Lunar New Year, the country's most important holiday, is considered the biggest annual mass human migration in the world. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images) #

A passenger climbs out of the window of a train after arriving at Hefei Railway Station in Hefei, Anhui Province, January 28, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A passenger yawns while reading a book in a waiting hall at Beijing's South Railway Station January 19, 2011. (Alexander F. Yuan/AP) #

Travelers ascend an escalator at Guangzhou's train station January 30, 2011. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images) #

Travelers prepare to depart from Guangzhou's train station January 30, 2011. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images) #

People arrive at the central railway station in Shanghai January 19, 2011. Millions boarded trains and buses across China to journey home for the Lunar New Year celebrations. (PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Fireworks celebrate Chinese New Year February 3, 2011 in Beijing. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #

A girl and her father watch as fireworks explode during celebrations in downtown Shanghai February 2, 2011. The Chinese Lunar New Year began on February 3 and marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

Workers at a restaurant set off firecrackers to mark the new year in Beijing February 3, 2011. (Ng Han Guan/AP) #

Fireworks explode over Xinghai Square to celebrate Chinese New Year February 4, 2011 in Dalian, China, in Liaoning Province. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

Visitors wearing rabbit ear headbands watch a night parade held to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong February 3, 2011. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters) #

Girls wearing bunny ears pose for photos at Ditan Park on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Beijing February 2, 2011. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images) #

Folk artists dressed in rabbit costume perform at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year February 2, 2011 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

Dancers perform at the Dongyue Temple as they celebrate the Lunar New Year February 5, 2011 in Beijing. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) #

A pedestrian crosses a street under illuminated lanterns on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Shanghai February 2, 2011. The Year of the Rabbit began February 3 with fireworks, lion dances and prayers that the bunny will live up to its reputation for happiness and good fortune in 2011. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man prays after burning incense sticks at a temple in Shanghai January 31, 2011 ahead of the Lunar New Year. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman lights incense to pray for good fortune on the first day of the Chinese New Year at a temple in Wuhu, China, in Anhui Province, February 3, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters) #

Residents gather to make dumplings ahead of Chinese New Year in Beijing February 1, 2011. Dumplings are a traditional food eaten to celebrate the New Year. (Ng Han Guan/AP) #

Meals are served at an event marking the upcoming Spring Festival in a Miao ethnic group village February 1, 2011 in Xijiang Town, Leishan County, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, in southwest China's Guizhou Province. Around 1,000 residents and tourists dined around a 280-meter-long table. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) #

Lim Neung-man (right), 86, bows in the direction of the North during a memorial service for ancestors as his son pauses during Seolnal, the Korean lunar new year day, at Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea February 3, 2011. Lim has not been able to visit his hometown since the Korean War. The Seolnal is also a time for Korean families to remember and honor their ancestors and Imjingak pavilion is the closest residents of the south can get to the border. (Lee Jae-Won/Reuters) #

Buddhists wait to place incense sticks in an urn at a local Chinese Buddhist temple February 3, 2011 in Singapore. (Wong Maye-E/AP) #

A diver wears a rabbit costume symbolizing the Year of the Rabbit as he swims inside a huge aquarium during a show at the Ocean Park in Manila January 28, 2011. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters) #

A child touches rabbit-shaped souvenir items for sale during Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown, Binondo, in metro Manila February 3, 2011. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters) #

Angelito Araneta Jr. puts a 0.2-carat diamond on a rabbit-shaped sweet rice cake, locally known as Tikoy, which he encrusted with 24-carat edible gold leaf February 2, 2011 in Manila. The cakes sell for $485 and is one of 13 ordered by rich Chinese customers for the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Araneta Jr. said one customer ordered a two-diamond gold encrusted rice cake for $2,710, his most expensive so far. (Bullit Marquez/AP) #

Cambodian Chinese perform a dragon dance February 2, 2011, in front of the Royal Palace ahead of Lunar New Year in Phnom Penh. (Heng Sinith/AP) #

A man offers prayers at Longshan Temple to bring in the Chinese New Year in Taipei February 2, 2011. (Wally Santana/AP) #

Worshippers crowd the Xingtian Temple in Taipei February 3, 2011. (Abe Sitzer/Reuters) #

A vendor shouts out to customers at a Chinese New Year market in Taipei January 30, 2011. (Nicky Loh/Reuters) #

A pedestrian rests next to a rabbit lantern in Taipei February 1, 2011. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images) #

Visitors walk among Lunar New Year decorations at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen temple in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur January 30, 2011. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images) #

A calligrapher paints in Hanoi January 28, 2011. Calligraphy paintings are used for decoration during Tet, the Vietnamese traditional Lunar New Year. (Kham/Reuters) #

Workers steam mooncakes for Lunar New Year in the Tangerang district of Jakarta January 25, 2011. (Dadang Tri/Reuters) #

Indonesians release heart shaped lanterns in Jakarta February 5, 2011 in celebration of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rabbit. Lunar New Year is celebrated in many parts of the predominantly Islamic country of 240 million people where Chinese heritage took root through ancient transmigration. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #

Lion dancers entertain the crowd in Chinatown during the Chinese New Year parade in Vancouver February 6, 2011. (Ben Nelms/Reuters) #

Revelers celebrate Chinese New Year on Mott Street in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan February 3, 2011. (Mary Altaffer/AP) #