People in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries and communities around the world are ringing in the Lunar New Year today-Sunday with street celebrations, decorations and gifts.
The 15 day holiday is the start of the Year of the Dog.
In Chinese astrology, the dog is the most likable and honest of all animals. But animal protection groups are urging people not to give dogs as gifts for the holiday, fearing the animals will end up abandoned.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao celebrated the holiday with poor farmers in the countryside to show their concern for rural poverty. In Beijing, authorities lifted a 12 year ban on exploding fireworks.
In Vietnam, the new year is known as "Tet." This year, the official media reported a 30 percent increase in the number of foreign tourists arriving just before the holiday.