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January 23, 2012

Lunar New Year 2012

The lunar new year is celebrated throughout the world, but especially in Asia when the lunisolar calendar ticks off a new cycle. This year is the Year of the Dragon on the Chinese zodiac, and is viewed as very auspicious. In China, the holiday is known as 春节, the Spring Festival, and kicks off 15 days of celebration. It also triggers the largest human migration in the world, as hundreds of millions of Chinese trek to see families. Gathered here are images of the preparation for the holiday, the travel scene in mainland China, and celebrations in many parts of the world. 新年快乐! -- Lane Turner/雷恩 (38 photos total)

Chinese folk artists perform the lion dance at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year on January 22, 2012 in Beijing. Also known as the Spring Festival, which is based on the Lunisolar calendar, it is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the lunar year and ends with the Lantern Festival on the Fifteenth day. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

A man walks through the hall of Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan, China on January 8, 2012. Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the biggest of two "Golden Week" holidays, giving migrant workers their only chance of the year to return to their home provinces. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A couple bids farewell through a train window at a railway station in Hefei, China on January 6, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

Travelers line up to buy train tickets at a railway station in Hefei, China on December 29, 2012. (Associated Press) #

People rush to catch their train at Beijing station on January 8, 2012. (Andy Wong/Associated Press) #

Passengers queue up to board their trains at a railway station in Fuzhou, China on January 8, 2011. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Passengers queue up to board trains as they return home for the lunar new year holiday at a railway station in Wuhan, China on January 13, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Passengers queue up to board trains as they return home for the lunar new year holiday at a railway station in Wuhan, China on January 13, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A crowd relaxes in a train compartment heading for northern Zhengzhou from Urumqi on January 18, as they had been through over thirty hours on the 3000 kilometer trip. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Passengers wait to board trains at a train station in Chengdu, China on January 18, 2012. (Associated Press) #

Passengers wait to board trains at the Hongqiao Train Station in Shanghai on January 19, 2012. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg) #

A man yawns as he makes red lanterns with other workers for the upcoming Chinese new year at a workshop in Yaxi village on December 27, 2011. (Associated Press) #

A worker installs dragon-shaped lanterns on a lake for lunar new year in Suining, China on January 2, 2012. (Associated Press) #

Visitors take pictures in front of a dragon-shaped lantern which has been set up for the upcoming lunar new year in Beijing on January 7, 2012. (China Daily/Reuters) #

Shoppers walk under red lanterns displayed for the upcoming lunar new year at a department store in Nanjing on January 12, 2012. (Associated Press) #

Banh Chung rice cakes await cooking at Tranh Khuc village outside Hanoi on January 14, 2012. Rice cakes are a traditional food dish eaten during the Vietnamese new year known as Tet. Tranh Khuc village is well-known for its Banh Chung, with about 90 percent of more than 200 families providing the treats daily to market. During the Tet, each family makes an average of 1,000 pieces per day and sells them for 30,000 dong ($1.4) per cake. (Kham/Reuters) #

Dancers perform during a parade held to welcome the upcoming lunar new year in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia on January 15, 2012. (Associated Press) #

A traditional Chinese dance group performs a show to celebrate lunar new year on January 15, 2012 in Mijas, Spain. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images) #

Malaysians of ethnic Chinese descent perform tai chi exercises underneath lanterns at Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur on January 17, 2012. (Samsul Said/Reuters) #

A devotee offers prayers inside the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and museum ahead of the lunar new year in Singapore on January 20, 2012. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images) #

Austin Tseng watches her doctor perform an ultrasound imaging on her "dragon baby" at the Adventist Hospital in Taipei on January 18, 2012. Some believe that babies born in the auspicious Year of the Dragon in the 12-year zodiac cycle are gifted with prodigious quantities of luck and strength. (Wally Santana/Associated Press) #

Vendors sell lunar new year decorations ahead of Tet in Hanoi on January 19, 2012. (Justin Mott/Bloomberg) #

Angelito "Karat Chef" Araneta Jr. looks at his edible water dragon sculpture made of gum-paste icing inside a restaurant in Manila on January 20, 2012. The sculpture is coated with 24k gold leaf and adorned with 17 Mikimoto pearls and two diamonds on the eyeballs. Angelito made the sculpture, which costs around 600,000 pesos ($13,863), for lunar new year. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters) #

Former North Korean defectors living in South Korea release balloons carrying snacks in Ganghwa near the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas on January 20, 2012. About 100 kgs of Choco Pie, the thick wafer-like confection made in the South but also popular in the North and abroad, were launched by 20 large balloons across the border. (Yonhap/AFP/Getty Images) #

Scuba divers perform a dragon dance at the Shanghai aquarium to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Dragon on January 20, 2012. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images) #

A fire breather performs in Chinatown in Manila a day before lunar new year on January 22, 2012. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images) #

Fireworks light up the skyline of Beijing as residents celebrate the start of the lunar new year on January 23, 2012. (David Gray/Reuters) #

Fireworks explode in Shanghai on January 22, 2012 celebrating the Year of the Dragon. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

People rush to place joss sticks at the Guan Yin temple in Singapore on January 23, 2012. Worshippers gather annually at the temple on the eve of the lunar new year with hopes to be the first person to offer joss sticks when the clock strikes midnight, believed to bring prosperity and luck. (Edgar Su/Reuters) #

A member of the Chinese community holds her child as she receives a red packet, a monetary gift given during holidays or special occasions, during celebrations in Lima, Peru on January 22, 2012. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters) #

People burn incense to pray for good fortune on the first day of the lunar new year at Yonghegong Lama Temple in Beijing on January 23, 2012. (Jason Lee/Reuters) #

Indonesian ethnic Chinese hold a lantern together before releasing it on January 22, 2012 to celebrate the lunar new year in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. (Binsar Bakkara/Associated Press) #

Ethnic Chinese people burn joss sticks to celebrate the lunar new year at Hea Tek Tunk Chinese Temple in Bangkok, Thailand on January 23, 2012. (Sakchai Lalit/Associated Press) #

South Korean army soldiers bow to respect their ancestors as they celebrate lunar new year at their base near the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas in Cheorwon, South Korea on January 23, 2012. (Kag Un Na-rye/Yonhap/Associated Press) #

North Korean children celebrate the first day of the lunar new year in Pyongyang, North Korea on January 23, 2012. Pyongyang residents said they were encouraged to celebrate the traditional holiday as they usually do, despite the death of Kim Jong Il, only the second leader North Koreans have known since the nation was founded in 1948. (Kim Kwang Hyon/Associated Press) #

Lauren Tian (left) and Brianna Liu laugh as other members of the Winchester School of Chinese Culture performs a dance as part of the lunar new year celebration at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston on January 14, 2012. (Essdras M Suarez/Globe staff)#

Indonesian ethnic Chinese pray during lunar new year celebrations at Dharma Bakti temple in Jakarta on January 23, 2012. (Dita Alangkara/Associated Press)#

A young performer dressed in dragon costume prepares to perform at a temple fair to celebrate the Year of Dragon on January 22, 2012 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)#