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Chinese New Year: The year of the snake

The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, begins on February 10 and marks the start of the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac.

Dong Ky villagers cheer during the traditional firecracker festival in Dong Ky, Bac Ninh province, Vietnam, on Feb. 13. The festival is held annually on the fourth day of the first lunar month and lasts for three days. Luong Thai Linh / EPA
Dong Ky villagers attend the traditional firecracker festival in Dong Ky, Bac Ninh province, Vietnam, on Feb. 13. Luong Thai Linh / EPA
Fireworks illuminate the city's skyline in Hong Kong on Feb. 11. Philippe Lopez / AFP - Getty Images
People burn incense as they pray for health and fortune on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Yonghegong Lama Temple in Beijing, on Feb. 10. Andy Wong / AP
Dancers perform a fire dragon dance in a shower of molten iron which sparks like fireworks during a folk art performance to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at an amusement park in Beijing, Feb. 10. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, began on Feb. 10 and marked the start of the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac. Kim Kyung-hoon / Reuters
People dance with dragon lanterns on the first day of the Lunar New Year in Wuhu, China, Feb. 10. Jianan Yu / Reuters
People burn incense to pray for good fortune on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Yonghegong Lama Temple, in Beijing, Feb. 10. Jason Lee / Reuters
Performers take part in a traditional Qing Dynasty ceremony in which emperors prayed for good fortune, during Lunar New Year festivities at the temple of Heaven in Beijing, Feb. 10. More than billion Asians ushered in the Year of the Snake with a cacophony of fireworks and ceremonies to kick off a week of festivities. Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images
Chinese worshipers holds sticks of incense as they pray during the Chinese Lunar New Year at a temple in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb. 10. Adi Weda / EPA
Spectators watch dragon dancers during the Chinese New Year parade in central London, England, Feb. 10. Tal Cohen / EPA
Worshippers burn incense to pray for good fortune on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Dafo temple in Chongqing, China, Feb. 10. Shi Tou / Reuters
A resident prepares to set up fireworks as part of Chinese new year celebrations, in central Beijing early Feb. 10. Jason Lee / Reuters
Dancers perform a dragon dance inside a gold center in Manila's Chinatown, Feb. 10. Cheryl Ravelo / Reuters
A snake-shaped sculpture made from about 850 yellow sky lanterns looms over a road in Chinatown on Feb. 9, in Singapore. Suhaimi Abdullah / Getty Images
Visitors stroll near trees decorated with red lanterns ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations during the opening ceremony of the Spring Festival Temple Fair at the Temple of Earth park on Feb. 9, in Beijing, China. Feng Li / Getty Images
Men light fireworks as residents celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year in Shanghai, Feb. 9. Carlos Barria / Reuters
People shop for Chinese New Year goodies on the final day of street sales in Chinatown on Feb. 9, in Singapore. Suhaimi Abdullah / Getty Images
Fireworks illuminate Beijing's skyline to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, Feb. 9. Smoke from the fireworks contributed to the city's severe air pollution. Feng Li / Getty Images
Visitors at the Lungshan Temple hold their ears as fireworks explode on the eve of the Chinese lunar new year in Taipei, Taiwan, Feb. 9. Wally Santana / AP
A worker changes the lights bulbs in lanterns ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 9. Mohd Rasfan / AFP - Getty Images
An ethnic Chinese worships ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 9. Mohd Rasfan / AFP - Getty Images
Firecrackers explode as dragon dancers perform in front of Chinese business establishments on the eve of Chinese New Year celebration Saturday Feb. 9, in Manila's Chinatown district of Binondo. Bullit Marquez / AP
Traditional Chinese Dragon dancers perform ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Suphan Buri province, about 65.2 miles north of Bangkok, on Feb. 8. Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters
A Chinese actor dressed as Qing Dynasty emperor, center, sits on a sedan chair during a rehearsal of an ancient Qing Dynasty ceremony ahead of the upcoming Chinese New Year at Ditan Park in Beijing, on Feb. 8. Andy Wong / AP
A worshipper burns incense while offering prayers at the Yonghegong lama temple in Beijing on Feb. 8. Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images
Traditional Chinese dancers wait to perform ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Suphan Buri province, about 65.2 miles north of Bangkok, on Feb 8. The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, begins on February 10 and marks the start of the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac. Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters
A man carries balloons on his motorbike in a street in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 8. Vietnam is preparing for Tet, or Lunar New Year, the most important holiday of the year. Many people buy peach blossoms or kumquat trees to decorate their houses to celebrate the new year. This year Tet falls on 10 February. Luong Thai Linh / EPA
Shoppers look at flowers for sale at the Chinese New Year Flower Market in Victoria Park, in Hong Kong, China, on Feb. 8. Every year before Chinese New Year there are big markets all over Hong Kong selling flowers, snacks and local delicacies, the biggest being the one in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. The market typically runs a few days before the lunar new year and lasts until dawn of the first lunar new year day. The Lunar New Year starts on 10 February and will be the Year of the Snake, one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. Jerome Favre / EPA
Travelers walk in the falling snow at the Shanghai Railway Station, on Feb. 8, in Shanghai, China. Millions of Chinese are expected to cramp onto China's train network in the coming weeks to return home for the Chinese Lunar New Year. Eugene Hoshiko / AP
Passengers wait for their buses at a long-distance bus station in Shanghai, on Feb. 8, 2013. Snow has hit several part of China on Friday, disrupting traffic as millions of Chinese are on their way for family reunion during the Spring Festival holidays, begining Feb. 10. AP
Snakes hang from a wooden cabinet marked with the Chinese characters "poisonous snake", at a snake soup shop ahead of the Spring Festival in Hong Kong, on Jan. 29. Bobby Yip / Reuters
People sleep on their seats on the train from Guangzhou to Changchun to go back home for the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, on Jan. 28. Passengers will log 220 million train rides during the 40-day travel season as they criss-cross the country to celebrate with their families, but just as making the trip home can be laborious -- often lasting one or two days -- so can simply acquiring a seat on the train, and every year complaints arise about the inefficiency or unfairness of the system, although an initiative allowing travelers to purchase tickets online aims to curb long queuing times. AFP - Getty Images