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China welcomes Year of the Monkey

Published 08/02/2016

A Chinese dancer in traditional costume performs a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing (AP)
A Chinese dancer in traditional costume performs a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing (AP)

People are flocking to temples to pray for good health and fortune on the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday in China.

In Beijing, revellers are visiting traditional fairs held in parks, as well as Buddhist and Taoist temples offering song and dance performances as well as open-air markets selling handicrafts.

Monday marks the first day of the Year of the Monkey - the ninth animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar.

The week-long holiday, known as the Spring Festival in China, is focused on family reunion, and is a time when students and migrant workers return to their home towns.

It is the country's most important holiday, equivalent to Christmas for many in the West.

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