Welcoming in the Year of the Rat in Asia
Welcoming in the Year of the Rat in Asia

February 7th marks the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Chinese Lunar New Year is the most important day of the year to Chinese people across the globe. In Asia, there are many traditional New Year customs.

In China, it includes decorating walls and doors with red banners inscribed with poetic couplets (Chunlian), a reunion dinner (Tuanyuan fan), giving and receiving red envelopes, and staying up all night. Most shop for New Year supplies (Nian Huo) before the eve of the New Year. Special food and clothing, firecrackers, Chunlian, New Year decor (Nian Hua), and other New Year supplies are purchased in large quantities. The following pictures illustrate the cheerful moments in various parts of Asia welcoming the New Year's arrival.

February 5, 2008, Manila, Philippines, gold plated Rat decorations are sold in shops. (Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images)
February 5, 2008, Manila, Philippines, gold plated Rat decorations are sold in shops. (Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images)

February 5, 2008, Beijing, residents are shopping for decorations. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images)
February 5, 2008, Beijing, residents are shopping for decorations. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images)

February 5, 2008, Taipei, decorations are sold in shops. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)
February 5, 2008, Taipei, decorations are sold in shops. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)
January 31, 2008, Hong Kong, residents are shopping for decorations. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)
January 31, 2008, Hong Kong, residents are shopping for decorations. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)
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