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PHOTOS: The Year Of The Pig Is Here

A display of golden pigs commemorates the upcoming New Year holiday in Beijing on Monday. Chinese around the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year on Tuesday.
Mark Schiefelbein AP
A display of golden pigs commemorates the upcoming New Year holiday in Beijing on Monday. Chinese around the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year on Tuesday.

Tuesday marks the Lunar New Year and the start of the year of the pig in the 12-year Chinese astrological calendar.

Millions of Chinese across the world rang in the holidays with fireworks, lanterns, balloons, performances and food. Celebrations have been ongoing for days as part of the weeklong Spring Festival.

Many of those celebrations have involved pig balloons, sculptures, murals — and even real pigs. The pig is believed to be a symbol of optimism, enthusiasm and hard work.

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Family reunions are a tradition of Chinese New Year, NPR's Yuhan Xu reports, especially for rural migrants working in Chinese cities far from their homes. But some people opt not to return home because of the high costs of transportation and gift-giving. It's customary for returning migrant workers to hand out cash in red envelopes to family members, often totaling hundreds of dollars.

Over 400 million people are believed to be celebrating at home this year in China, Reuters reports, and another 7 million are estimated to be traveling abroad. A slowing economy is keeping Chinese tourists to cheaper destinations closer to home.

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