8 February 2016

Chinese visit temples, fairs to ring in Year of the Monkey

A lion dance performer looks out from the mouth of the lion head at Ditan Park to mark the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
Chinese flocked to temples and fairs to pray for good health and fortune on Monday, the first day of the Lunar New Year.
In Beijing, hundreds of thousands of people visited traditional fairs held in parks, as well as Buddhist and Taoist temples offering singing and dance performances and 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 weeklong 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 hometowns. It is the country's most important holiday, equivalent to Christmas for many in the West.
Travel agent Meng Su was lining up to burn incense at the Tibetan Buddhist Lama Temple in central Beijing, which is regarded as a popular tradition that brings good luck to those praying.
"Chinese people revere the power of nature and believe in gods, so we hope to express our blessings and that the gods can hear us," said Meng, 39. "It's also a way for us to find some comfort."
Another Beijing resident, Yan Xiaying, 29, said her mother had a clear target as the pair visited the temple.
"I guess my mother hopes that I get married soon," Yan said, with her mother agreeing. 
(AP 
A Chinese performer dressed in traditional costume performs a cultural dance during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
A Chinese performer dressed in traditional costume performs a cultural dance during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. 
Performers participate in a lion dance at Ditan Park to mark the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
Performers participate in a lion dance at Ditan Park to mark the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. 
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costume take selfies in backstage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costume take selfies in backstage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.  
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costume take a selfie in backstage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costume take a selfie in backstage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. 
People watch an ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair in Ditan Park during the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
People watch an ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair in Ditan Park during the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. 
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costumes perform a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
Chinese dancers dressed in traditional costumes perform a cultural dance on stage during a temple fair for a Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac. 
Qi Xue’en, a performer dressed as a Qing Dynasty emperor, seated on a sedan chair, center, is carried during the ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair in Ditan Park during the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.
Qi Xue’en, a performer dressed as a Qing Dynasty emperor, seated on a sedan chair, center, is carried during the ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune at a temple fair in Ditan Park during the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Millions of Chinese began celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese zodiac.

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