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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 12:01 GMT
In pictures: Chinese lantern festival

Red lanterns along the Wende Bridge in Nanjing, 19 February 2008

After the lunar new year, Chinese people have been ushering in the lantern festival. It falls on Thursday, the 15th day of the first lunar month.

Lantern show in Beijing, 20 February 2008

As well as viewing lanterns, people take part in riddle guessing games, and watch stilt walking and other performances.

Tiawanese buy rice balls in Taipei, 19 February 2008

They also eat rice dumplings, symbolising unity. In Taiwan people queued to buy rice balls at a market in Taipei.

People pray in front of incense burning in Changchun, 21 February 2008

In Changchun, people gathered at a temple to pray for good luck in front of burning incense.

People view a lantern showing the Olympic rings in Beijing, February 20 2008

This year the Olympic Games, which China is hosting, has been a major theme.

Actors dressed as ancient officials at a village outside Xian, Shaanxi Province, China, 20 February 2008

In the north and west of China, people take part in folk celebrations dating back more than 400 years. Here actors dress as ancient officials at a village in Shaanxi Province.

A performer lifts a mask in Changchun, Jilin Province, February 21 2008

People of all ages take part, both as performers and spectators.

Two performers take a smoking break in Changchun, 21 February 2008

Here two adult performers in Changchun take a cigarette break...

Children dressed up as historical or legendary figures wait for a performance at a village outside Xian, Shaanxi province, China, 20 February 2008

...while their younger counterparts - dressed up as historical or legendary figures - wait to perform.

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