BEIJING • Colourful festivities to usher in the Year of the Fire Monkey have been held around the world, featuring street parties, performances and fireworks displays.
Millions celebrate Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, with life coming to a standstill in many parts of Asia, including in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Vietnam.
In Beijing, thousands visited traditional fairs and open-air markets.
At a temple fair in Ditan Park, or the Temple of Earth, there were traditional dances and gong and drum performances.
There was little traffic around the city, as more than 15 million people travelled to their home towns for family reunions.
Ethnic Chinese communities in other countries also marked the holiday. Lion dances, meant to scare away evil spirits and bring luck, were held at Chinese temples in Malaysia, while families gave offerings and prayed for good health and fortune.
In Thailand, where 14 per cent of the population is ethnic Chinese, tourists and residents watched a dragon dance performance in Bangkok's Chinatown.
In Manila's Chinatown - the world's oldest - dance troupes entertained the crowds and fireworks capped the celebrations at midnight on Sunday.
The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia were lit red.
In New York, city public schools were closed for the holiday for the first time on Monday. About a sixth of the city's 1.1 million public school students are of Asian descent. Crowds gathered to watch traditional performances at a park in Manhattan's Chinatown.
In London, Britain, the Magical Lantern Festival drew visitors at Chiswick House Gardens, where there are more than 50 giant, hand-sculpted lanterns to mark Chinese New Year.
AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE, REUTERS, XINHUA