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WORLD

Rooster struts into New Year

By Amy Laging for CNN

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Two billion trips via train, car and air are helping residents get home for the Chinese New Year
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Taiwanese have their own traditions to bring good tidings in the Lunar New Year
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Lunar New Year

(CNN) -- Goodbye year of the monkey, hello year of the rooster!

Millions of people across the world, particularly Asians, are ushering in Lunar New Year.

Wednesday marks the first day of the 15-day Spring Festival, featuring family celebrations, special meals, and even superstitions such as wearing red underwear.

The Lunar New Year, known as "Tet" in Vietnam, is also the busiest time of year for fortune tellers and feng shui experts.

"In the year of the rooster, we look forward to a smoother year compared to the year of the monkey," feng shui consultant Raymond Lo told CNN Wednesday.

"We'll see a year of more peace and compromise. There will be more peace talks," he said.

Lo predicted it would be a good year economically, with oil, energy, skin care, cosmetics and entertainment companies all expected to do well.

But he also sounded a cautionary note, saying people need to be watchful of their health, particularly with necks and spines. He also warned about bird flu.

And famous people beware: "Rooster years are associated with stabbings. Some celebrities may get stabbed or some celebrities might break their back," he said.

During the Lunar New Year, much attention is focused on how to bring about good fortune.

Wearing red clothing, particularly underwear, is considered to be very lucky. Conversely, sweeping your house on New Year's Day can supposedly bring bad fortune, because it can sweep out good luck.

Lunar New Year creates transport chaos in China, with the biggest annual human migration on the planet.

In the rush to get home to spend the festival with family, 1.8 billion people clog the roads, 145 million pile onto trains, and a further 12 million cram the skies, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

Many endure long hours on cold, crowded trains.

"There is no heating, no hot water -- what do they want to do? Freeze us to death? Any longer and we will be popsicles," said one man who had been travelling for 19 hours.


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