China welcomes Year of the Monkey
Yesterday marked the beginning of the Year of the Monkey, the 4713th Chinese Year.
The Chinese New Year, which begins with a new moon, started at 10:40pm in China.
Also known as Spring Festival, celebrations in China stretch from New Years Eve until the lantern festival which falls on the fifteenth day of the lunar year.
This year the festival dates are from 7 - 22 February 2016.
Chinese New Year is often reserved as a day to visit family especially the elders.
Red envelopes are filled with money by married family members and gifted to the children or younger family members for good luck.
Celebrations feature the Lion dance and in major cities firework displays light the skyline.
Traditionally, bamboo sticks were lit to ward off evil spirits and fireworks set off by people in the streets who then scurry for cover.
This practice still occurs in some areas. In Samoa, the Chinese Embassy closed for the day yesterday in respect for the Chinese New Year which is a public holiday in the People’s Republic of China.