More than a billion Asians around the globe are ushering in the Lunar New Year, or the Year of the Snake, with fireworks, celebrations, feasts and visits to families.
Much of China is on the move in a massive annual spring migration, or “chunyun” as it is called, with hundreds of millions of migrant workers packing trains, buses, aircraft and boats to spend the 15-day festival with their families. For many Chinese, this is their only holiday of the year.
The capital of Beijing put on a gala variety show during the countdown to the New Year Saturday evening, featuring a host of stars, including Canadian singer Celine Dion, who sang a traditional folk song, Jasmine Flower, in Mandarin. However, this year's fireworks displays were muted, with the government concerned about the city's pollution.
In China, the snake has traditionally been seen as a symbol of wisdom, wealth and longevity, but is considered less auspicious than other animals in the 12-year Chinese Zodiac, such as the dragon.