Chinese visit temples, fairs to ring in Year of the Monkey

BEIJING - Chinese are flocking to temples and fairs to pray for good health and fortune on the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday.

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In Beijing, many are visiting traditional fairs held in parks, as well as Buddhist and Taoist temples offering singing and dance performances and open-air markets selling handicrafts.

Monday marks the first day of the Year of the Monkey - the ninth animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar.

The weeklong holiday, known as the Spring Festival in China, is focused on family reunion and is a time when students and migrant workers return to their hometowns.

It is the country's most important holiday, equivalent to Christmas for many in the West.



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