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Asians Mark Year Of The Dragon

Millions of Asians are shooting off fireworks, sitting down to feasts, and having family reunions to mark the Year of the Dragon. The Lunar New Year that began on January 23 is the most important holiday of the year for many people in Asia. The dragon is considered the most favorable and revered sign in the 12-year cycle of beasts that appear in the Chinese zodiac.

Soldiers perform a dragon dance in front of Tay Kei Sek temple in Semarang in central Java in Indonesia.
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Soldiers perform a dragon dance in front of Tay Kei Sek temple in Semarang in central Java in Indonesia.

A reveler writes "Dragon" in traditional Chinese characters and 2012 with fireworks in Beijing.
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A reveler writes "Dragon" in traditional Chinese characters and 2012 with fireworks in Beijing.

Performers dressed in traditional costumes and wearing make-up dance as they take part in Chinese New Year celebrations at the 700-year-old Dongyue Temple in Beijing.
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Performers dressed in traditional costumes and wearing make-up dance as they take part in Chinese New Year celebrations at the 700-year-old Dongyue Temple in Beijing.

A woman lights joss sticks to pray for prosperity and well-being on the first day of the Year of the Dragon at the Dongyue Temple in Beijing.
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A woman lights joss sticks to pray for prosperity and well-being on the first day of the Year of the Dragon at the Dongyue Temple in Beijing.

Thousands of people visit a lantern festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Shanghai.
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Thousands of people visit a lantern festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Shanghai.

Ethnic Chinese Thais give money to a Chinese dragon puppet for Lunar New Year celebrations in Bangkok's Chinatown district.
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Ethnic Chinese Thais give money to a Chinese dragon puppet for Lunar New Year celebrations in Bangkok's Chinatown district.

Scuba divers perform a dragon dance at the Shanghai aquarium to celebrate the Year of the Dragon in Shanghai on January 20.
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Scuba divers perform a dragon dance at the Shanghai aquarium to celebrate the Year of the Dragon in Shanghai on January 20.

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