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Year of the Tiger rings in

The Hong Kong parade included the dragon, the Chinese symbol of good luck   
January 28, 1998
Web posted at: 10:57 a.m. EST (1557 GMT)

(CNN) -- It was out with the ox and in with the tiger as much of Asia ushered in the Lunar New Year Wednesday.

Lunar New Year, considered the most important holiday in China, begins on the first full moon of the new year and is celebrated for 15 days.

The Year of the Tiger symbolizes strength, vitality and fortune. The public holiday, which lasts three to four days, is a time for renewal, family gatherings, eating rich foods and wishing for good luck.

Although much of Asia is worried about a faltering economy, such matters are far removed from the many celebrations taking place.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year...
video Beijing (793K/21 sec. QuickTime Movie)

video Hong Kong (478K/11 sec. QuickTime Movie)

In Beijing, many residents woke to the sound of firecrackers -- believed to scare off evil spirits. Beijing's historic bell tower sounded 108 times to ward off the same number of misfortunes.

Thousands of people lined up to watch the annual parade in Hong Kong   

In Taiwan, thousands of people braved a chilly drizzle to get good luck money given by President Lee Teng-hui. Distributed in lucky "red envelopes," each contained about $6.

In Hong Kong, a parade, lion dancers, gongs and a carnival greeted the Year of the Tiger, while many residents also burned incense at temples. The Hong Kong festival will climax Thursday night when six tons of fireworks will explode over the world's busiest harbor.


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