Chinese visit temples, fairs to ring in Year of the Monkey
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Chinese visit temples, fairs to ring in Year of the Monkey

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese are flocking to temples and fairs to pray for good health and fortune on the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday.

In Beijing, many are visiting traditional fairs held in parks, as well as Buddhist and Taoist temples offering singing and dance performances and open-air markets selling handicrafts.

Monday marks the first day of the Year of the Monkey — the ninth animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar.

The weeklong holiday, known as the Spring Festival in China, is focused on family reunion and is a time when students and migrant workers return to their hometowns.

It is the country’s most important holiday, equivalent to Christmas for many in the West.