In China and other parts of Asia, the lunar new year has been ushered in in a blaze of glory. It is the year of the dragon, a powerful mythical creature that symbolises good luck in many countries across the region.
In Beijing everyone seemed determined to make it feel welcome, hoping some of that luck would rub off.
One man taking part in a bell-ringing ceremony said: “In the coming new year, I hope my country has increased prosperity and strength. When we ring in the new year, we hope the sound of the bell ringing will bring peace, good health and good fortune.”
Economists might say the omens could be better, but, on their biggest holiday of the year, that is not going to prevent most Chinese from having a good time in the ongoing celebrations.
The festivities may last for two weeks, and for some in China, particularly migrant workers, it is their only chance to visit their families.
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