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In Pictures: Welcoming the year of the horse
From contemplative prayer to eye-popping fireworks, celebrations marking Chinese New Year are always spectacular.
Last updated: 02 Feb 2014 13:55
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Hong Kong - The Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, began on January 31 and lasts for 15 days.

Here in Hong Kong, the Year of the Horse, as it has been dubbed by the Chinese Zodiac system, is welcomed with shows and celebrations around the city, replete with various fairs, flower markets, and astonishing pyrotechnic displays.

It's the most important holiday for Chinese people and the time for a mix of family reunions, huge dinners and prayerful solemnity.

For some, the celebration traditionally begins at the temple, where they light incense and perform rituals to worship the gods and ask for good fortune in the coming year. Most offices, banks, and public utilities are closed during the holiday period.

On the second day, the annual "night parade" is held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, attracting foreign guests and local government officials who enjoy a splendid show with floats parading along the streets, with a carnival of dancers, drummers and other performers.

A 20-minute firework display over the Victoria Harbour follows the parade and brings the night's celebrations to a riotous close.

According to Chinese tradition, the Year of the Horse - one of twelve animals cycled through annually - is often associated with change, and many here are certain the year ahead will be packed with tumultuous opportunities.


/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera
Tens of thousands of people gathered at Victoria Park for the Lunar New Year Fair to enjoy the festive spirit.


/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Red envelopes, or "hongbao", are used to hold gifts of cash - considered an auspiciously lucky investment for whomever receives it.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

In the first hours of the Lunar New Year, people come to Tin Hau Temple in Causeway Bay to offer prayers and light incense sticks.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Various rituals are performed, helping people who are praying for good fortune for the New Year.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Some people leave food at the temple as an offering to the gods.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

The Wong Tai Sin Temple becomes very crowded with worshippers observing the New Year.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Before the Night Parade, spectators can take part in a street party along the parade route and watch the famed Lion Dance.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Children play an important role in the annual parade that starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and proceeds through the city's streets.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera
One of the dancing troupes posing before the beginning of the show.


/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

The dragon dance is a form of traditional Chinese performance during the New Year's festive ceremonies.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

International performing groups from all around the globe take part in the annual Night Parade.



/Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Splendid fireworks illuminate the sky over the Victoria Harbour to celebrate "The Year of the Horse".




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images:
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captions:
Tens of thousands of people gathered at Victoria Park for the Lunar New Year Fair to enjoy the festive spirit.;*;

Red envelopes, or "hongbao", are used to hold gifts of cash - considered an auspiciously lucky investment for whomever receives it.

;*;

In the first hours of the Lunar New Year, people come to Tin Hau Temple in Causeway Bay to offer prayers and light incense sticks.

;*;

Various rituals are performed, helping people who are praying for good fortune for the New Year.

;*;

Some people leave food at the temple as an offering to the gods.

;*;

The Wong Tai Sin Temple becomes very crowded with worshippers observing the New Year.

;*;

Before the Night Parade, spectators can take part in a street party along the parade route and watch the famed Lion Dance.

;*;

Children play an important role in the annual parade that starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and proceeds through the city(***)s streets.

;*;One of the dancing troupes posing before the beginning of the show.;*;

The dragon dance is a form of traditional Chinese performance during the New Year(***)s festive ceremonies.

;*;

International performing groups from all around the globe take part in the annual Night Parade.

;*;

Splendid fireworks illuminate the sky over the Victoria Harbour to celebrate "The Year of the Horse".

Daylife ID:
42e3a90b9b162fbe4e133c461fe28ab9
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera;*;Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Year of the horsehttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horseen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sat, 01 Feb 2014 20:07:04 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/3ea30616c5ba9b6a02a4fa4fc73ed148

Tens of thousands of people gathered at Victoria Park for the Lunar New Year Fair to enjoy the festive spirit.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/3ea30616c5ba9b6a02a4fa4fc73ed148Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Tens of thousands of people gathered at Victoria Park for the Lunar New Year Fair to enjoy the festive spirit.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/ac6dd082f94e6d767e6d7e3f6bea892d

Red packets or hongbao, where people put money to give, for sale in a market in Central Hong Kong.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/ac6dd082f94e6d767e6d7e3f6bea892dAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Red packets or hongbao, where people put money to give, for sale in a market in Central Hong Kong.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/7e9c5f36caa7b4b43889255e4d10089a

In the wee hours of the Lunar New Year people come to Tin Hau Temple in Causeway Bay to light the incense joss sticks.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/7e9c5f36caa7b4b43889255e4d10089aAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

In the wee hours of the Lunar New Year people come to Tin Hau Temple in Causeway Bay to light the incense joss sticks.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/09e7df31222466bac72c0077590572c0

A woman performing a ritual, praying for good fortune for the new year.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/09e7df31222466bac72c0077590572c0Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

A woman performing a ritual, praying for good fortune for the new year.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/674a2a84e146b7682da9f348f0929251

Some people food as offering to the gods.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/674a2a84e146b7682da9f348f0929251Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Some people food as offering to the gods.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/cb80b4625cf0964477e4a0bd62976071

People pass by the temple at Wong Tai Sin Temple.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/cb80b4625cf0964477e4a0bd62976071Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

People pass by the temple at Wong Tai Sin Temple.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/b848cae8b4c26bf315dcc81880f6aa58

Prior to the Night Parade, spectators can take part in a street party along the parade route and watch the famed Lion Dance.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/b848cae8b4c26bf315dcc81880f6aa58Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Prior to the Night Parade, spectators can take part in a street party along the parade route and watch the famed Lion Dance.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/475e52e83e70d9e30403896f44df5a37

Kids play an important role in the annual parade that starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and proceeds to the streets.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/475e52e83e70d9e30403896f44df5a37Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Kids play an important role in the annual parade that starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and proceeds to the streets.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/698a45df8b31edd16e2ce9d77dfc3b64

One of the dancing troupes posing before the beginning of the show.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/698a45df8b31edd16e2ce9d77dfc3b64Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

One of the dancing troupes posing before the beginning of the show.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/fb1153bc7874e659e9508e068388cb8e

The Dragon dance is a form of traditional Chinese performance during the New Year's Festive ceremonies.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/fb1153bc7874e659e9508e068388cb8eAndrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

The Dragon dance is a form of traditional Chinese performance during the New Year's Festive ceremonies.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/f2e6d58f616969850dc73b483b27b5d9

A number of international performing groups from all corners of the globe take part in the Night Parade.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/f2e6d58f616969850dc73b483b27b5d9Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

A number of international performing groups from all corners of the globe take part in the Night Parade.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/65a87dd49a3aba8a461621588c2bcdc6

Splendid fireworks illuminate the sky over the Victoria Harbour to celebrate the 'Year of the Horse'.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Year_of_the_horse/slideshow/no-caption/65a87dd49a3aba8a461621588c2bcdc6Andrey Kovalenko/Al Jazeera

Splendid fireworks illuminate the sky over the Victoria Harbour to celebrate the 'Year of the Horse'.



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