Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

In pictures: Chinese New Year

Ian Leong holds incense sticks at a Buddhist temple in Richmond, British Colombia, Canada on 25/1/09

People around the world are celebrating Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, and welcoming in the Year of the Ox.

Giant illuminated statue of an ox in Jenjarom, Malaysia

The ox, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, symbolises calm, hard work, resolve and tenacity. 2008 was the Year of the Rat.

Firework let off in Shanghai on 26/1/09

Millions saw in the Lunar New Year with parties, feasts and fireworks.

Woman prays at a Confucious temple in Bejing on 26/1/09

Many choose to start the celebrations with a visit to a Buddhist shrine, to light incense and pray for the year ahead.

Buddhists rush to place incense sticks in an urn at a Chinese Buddhist temple in Singapore

Buddhists at this temple in Singapore vie to place their incense sticks in an urn at midnight, for an auspicious start to the Lunar New Year.

Lion dancers at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila on 26/1/09

The celebrations come amid global economic gloom. Lion dances, such as this in the Philippine Stock Exchange, aim to ward off evil spirits.

Performers pose for pictures at the Ditan Temple Fair in Beijing, China

The colour red is also believed to keep away bad luck. Red lanterns such as these at this Lunar New Year fair in Beijing are a common sight.

A woman sells peach blossom in Hanoi, Vietnam

Peach blossoms adorn many homes during this period and many hope it will bring good luck for the next 12 months.

People from the earthquake-hit province of Sichuan practise a dragon dance at the Hongbai Township

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao spent New Year's Eve visiting the survivors of last May's devastating earthquake in Sichuan province, which left nearly 70,000 people dead.

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