Images of Chinese New Year celebrations around the globe as 1.5 billion honour annual folk traditions.
People all across the People’s Republic of China and throughout the Chinese diaspora are preparing to mark the start of the new year on Sunday.
Legend has it that Chinese people descended from the dragon and many believe the powerful creature is auspicious, despite years of authoritarian rule and government discouragement of superstition.
In a tradition that has continued for thousands of years, the Chinese have named each year after an animal – in a 12-year cycle.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images People view a lantern display during the public opening of the 2012 River Hongbao Festival on January 21, 2012, in Singapore.
Revelers prepare to perform the traditional Chinese dragon dance during Lunar New Year celebrations in Mexico City's Chinatown on January 21.
The Lunar New Year begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac.
TOMAS BRAVO/REUTERS People perform the traditional Chinese dragon dance during Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown in Mexico City on January 21.
Dance performers pose for photographs during the public opening of the River Hongbao Festival in Singapore.
A large decoration shaped as a dragon is displayed in a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia, on January 21 for the Chinese Lunar new year of the dragon.
A man takes a photo near a large lit-up dragon in Hong Kong on January 20, 2012. Decorations are appearing all over the city in preparation for Chinese New Year on January 23,
A Cantonese opera performer at the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre in Hong Kong celebrates the Chinese New Year by performing a well-known Cantonese Opera play called Prime Minister of Six States.