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Chinese Lunar New Year

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An Indonesian ethnic Chinese man prays during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration at Dharma Bakti temple in Chinatown in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Divers of the Nucleo Operatori Subacquei Guardia Costiera conduct a search and rescue operation that led to the discovery of the body of a woman inside of the ship [...]

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Today marks the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year 2012, the Year of the Dragon. One of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon signifies good fortune and power. In the Chinese astrological cycle, this year is also associated with the element of water, which makes 2012 the Year of the Water Dragon -- an emblem of optimism and growth that comes around only once every 60 years. People around the world are ushering in this auspicious year with displays of fireworks, family get-togethers, temple visits, and street festivals. Collected below are images from several countries where revelers have been welcoming the arrival of the Water Dragon. [34 photos]

Thousands of people visit a lantern festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dragon in Shanghai, on January 23, 2012. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

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