9 Feb 2013

Lunar New Year to begin on Sunday

2:28 pm on 9 February 2013

Millions of people are preparing to celebrate Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year), the most important annual holiday in much of Asia.

The new year begins on Sunday, when the new moon is seen in the sky.

In the Chinese zodiac, this year will be the year of the snake, taking over from the dragon of 2012.

An estimated 200 million people in China are travelling to be with their families. Their journeys sometimes last several days.

Migrant workers in China often only have one holiday a year in which to visit their home towns, to take the money they have saved back to their families.

The new year is traditionally brought in with fireworks and firecrackers, but residents of Beijing have been asked to set off fewer this year, in an attempt to minimise pollution in the city, which is frequently smog-bound.

Lunar New Year television galas on Saturday night will include Celine Dion and South Korean Gangnam Style pop sensation Psy.

The China Daily said the China Central Television variety show is set to draw a billion viewers this year.

Dion will perform her global hit "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic. She will also sing in a duet in Chinese.

The Global Times reports Psy will do his dance on Dragon TV in Shanghai.