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Lunar New Year Begins Sunday

People in China, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere are preparing to celebrate the lunar new year, which begins on Sunday with the first new moon.

The 15-day holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, is the single most important holiday for hinese people. It is a time of renewal, family gatherings, eating rich foods and paying respect to your ancestors and elders.

Each lunar new year is named for one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. This will be the Year of the Dog, celebrated with decorations, gifts and meals that feature foods with symbolic meanings.

Families prepare by doing a ritual housecleaning, which includes certain traditions meant to ward off bad luck. Houses are decorated with flower blossoms and messages of good luck.

The new year is then welcomed in with fireworks, street celebrations and gifts of money in red envelopes. Also this year, dogs are expected to be popular gifts.

In Vietnam, the new year is known as "Tet." This year, the official media reported a 30-percent increase in the number of foreign tourists arriving in Vietnam just before the holiday.