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Asia welcomes Chinese Lunar Year of the Pig with banquets, temple visits

Updated : February 08, 2019 12:25 PM IST

Asia welcomed the lunar Year of the Pig on February 5 with visits to temples, family banquets and the world's biggest travel spree.

Celebrations took place throughout the region, from Beijing and Seoul to Hanoi and Singapore.

The streets of Beijing and other major Chinese cities were quiet and empty after millions of people left to visit relatives or travel abroad during the year's biggest family holiday.

Families gathered at home for multigenerational banquets. Companies, shops and government offices closed for official holidays that ranged from two days in South Korea to a week in China.

In Beijing, performers in traditional Qing dynasty robes strummed zithers for a re-enactment at sunrise of a sacrificial ceremony at the Chinese capital's Temple of Earth park.

An actor portraying an emperor bowed before an altar as dozens of people in ceremonial dress behind him.

Acrobats and drummers also performed. Vendors sold toys branded with the British cartoon character Peppa Pig, which is enjoying a surge of popularity for the Year of the Pig.

Chinese set off billions of fireworks to celebrate the new year. An explosion at an illegal fireworks shop in southern China killed five people early Tuesday. Investigators said it was triggered by fireworks set off by the shopkeeper outside the shop.

The holiday in mainland China is marked by the biggest annual travel boom as hundreds of millions of people visit their home towns or travel abroad.

In this Monday, February 4, 2019, photo, a worker attaches a name tag of a Buddhist who made a donation of a lantern to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year at the Bongeun Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea. Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
In this Monday, February 4, 2019, photo, a worker attaches a name tag of a Buddhist who made a donation of a lantern to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year at the Bongeun Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea. Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
In this Monday, February 4, 2019, photo, Filipino-Chinese perform a dragon dance on Chinese New Year's Eve at Manila's Chinatown district in Manila, Philippines. This year is the Year of the Earth Pig in the Chinese Lunar calendar and is supposed to represent abundance, diligence and generosity. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
In this Monday, February 4, 2019, photo, Filipino-Chinese perform a dragon dance on Chinese New Year's Eve at Manila's Chinatown district in Manila, Philippines. This year is the Year of the Earth Pig in the Chinese Lunar calendar and is supposed to represent abundance, diligence and generosity. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A woman holds a flower-shape candle prays on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Tanzhe temple in the Mentougou District of Beijing, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the arrival of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A woman holds a flower-shape candle prays on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Tanzhe temple in the Mentougou District of Beijing, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the arrival of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Monday, January 28, 2019, photo, workers prepare for the Lunar New Year at the Dharma Bakti Temple in Chinatown area of Jakarta, Indonesia. People of Chinese descent in the world's most populous Muslim country were preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Pig on February 5. (AP Photo/ Achmad Ibrahim)
In this Monday, January 28, 2019, photo, workers prepare for the Lunar New Year at the Dharma Bakti Temple in Chinatown area of Jakarta, Indonesia. People of Chinese descent in the world's most populous Muslim country were preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Pig on February 5. (AP Photo/ Achmad Ibrahim)
In this Monday, January 28, 2019, photo, Muslim women take a selfie at a shop selling Lunar New Year decorations in the Chinatown area of Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
In this Monday, January 28, 2019, photo, Muslim women take a selfie at a shop selling Lunar New Year decorations in the Chinatown area of Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
In this January 29, 2019, photo, a worker sits high up in the eves to arrange lanterns in preparation of the Lunar New Year at a temple in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
In this January 29, 2019, photo, a worker sits high up in the eves to arrange lanterns in preparation of the Lunar New Year at a temple in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
In this Tuesday, January 29, 2019, photo, people shop for Lunar New Year decorations at a market in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Tuesday, January 29, 2019, photo, people shop for Lunar New Year decorations at a market in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, two divers perform an underwater Chinese Lion Dance ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations at Aquaria KLCC underwater park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, two divers perform an underwater Chinese Lion Dance ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations at Aquaria KLCC underwater park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, a Chinese god statue is cleaned by an Indonesian of Chinese descent in preparation for the Lunar New Year celebration at a temple on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, a Chinese god statue is cleaned by an Indonesian of Chinese descent in preparation for the Lunar New Year celebration at a temple on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
In this Wednesday, January 30. 2019, photo, a statue of a Chinese god is washed by in preparation for the Lunar New Year celebrations at a temple outside Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
In this Wednesday, January 30. 2019, photo, a statue of a Chinese god is washed by in preparation for the Lunar New Year celebrations at a temple outside Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, women take a selfie near a tree decorated with red lanterns ahead of the Lunar New Year at Ditan Park in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, women take a selfie near a tree decorated with red lanterns ahead of the Lunar New Year at Ditan Park in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, ethnic Chinese-Thai offers flowers after prayers at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, ethnic Chinese-Thai offers flowers after prayers at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, ethnic Chinese-Thai light candles after praying at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
In this Wednesday, January 30, 2019, photo, ethnic Chinese-Thai light candles after praying at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
In this January 28, 2019, photo, travelers wait for their trains at a railway station in Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province. The world's largest annual migration has begun in China with millions of Chinese are traveling to their hometowns to celebrate the Lunar New Year on February 5 this year which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (Chinatopix via AP)
In this January 28, 2019, photo, travelers wait for their trains at a railway station in Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province. The world's largest annual migration has begun in China with millions of Chinese are traveling to their hometowns to celebrate the Lunar New Year on February 5 this year which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (Chinatopix via AP)
In this Tuesday, January 29, 2019, file photo, a vendor packs candies at the Dihua Street market in Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwanese shoppers started hunting for delicacies, dried goods, and other bargains at the market ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations which according to the lunar calendar will take place on February 5. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
In this Tuesday, January 29, 2019, file photo, a vendor packs candies at the Dihua Street market in Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwanese shoppers started hunting for delicacies, dried goods, and other bargains at the market ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations which according to the lunar calendar will take place on February 5. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
In this Friday, February 1, 2019, photo, Filipino-Chinese display piggy banks at the start of celebrations leading to next week's Lunar New Year in Chinatown, Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
In this Friday, February 1, 2019, photo, Filipino-Chinese display piggy banks at the start of celebrations leading to next week's Lunar New Year in Chinatown, Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
In this Friday, February 1, 2019, photo, girls react to a squealing Teacup pig, a rare pet in the country, at the start of celebrations leading to the Chinese New Year at Manila's Lucky Chinatown Plaza in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
In this Friday, February 1, 2019, photo, girls react to a squealing Teacup pig, a rare pet in the country, at the start of celebrations leading to the Chinese New Year at Manila's Lucky Chinatown Plaza in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
In this Sunday, February3, 2019, photo, a woman takes a souvenir photo of her family posing in front of red lanterns on display at the Longtan Park for a temple fair ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Sunday, February3, 2019, photo, a woman takes a souvenir photo of her family posing in front of red lanterns on display at the Longtan Park for a temple fair ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Sunday, February 3, 2019, photo, a vendor adds a wooden windmill toy to his store at the Longtan Park for a temple fair ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Sunday, February 3, 2019, photo, a vendor adds a wooden windmill toy to his store at the Longtan Park for a temple fair ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
In this Sunday, February 3, 2019, photo, vendors carrying pig-shaped balloons for sale to mark the Lunar New Year in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
In this Sunday, February 3, 2019, photo, vendors carrying pig-shaped balloons for sale to mark the Lunar New Year in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
In this Monday, February 4, 2019, photo, people buy flowers at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
In this Monday, February 4, 2019, photo, people buy flowers at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Dancers in traditional ethnic clothing prepare to take the stage at a temple fair at Longtan Park in Beijing, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the second day of the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Dancers in traditional ethnic clothing prepare to take the stage at a temple fair at Longtan Park in Beijing, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the second day of the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Drummers perform in front of a mural reading
Drummers perform in front of a mural reading "2019" at a temple fair at Longtan Park in Beijing, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the second day of the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People walk under a canopy decorated with spinning colored fans at a temple fair at Longtan Park in Beijing, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the second day of the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People walk under a canopy decorated with spinning colored fans at a temple fair at Longtan Park in Beijing, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the second day of the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People pose for photos in front of a wall of lanterns at a temple fair at Longtan Park in Beijing, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the second day of the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People pose for photos in front of a wall of lanterns at a temple fair at Longtan Park in Beijing, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the second day of the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People burn joss sticks as they pray at the Man Mo Miu Temple on the second day of the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese are celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
People burn joss sticks as they pray at the Man Mo Miu Temple on the second day of the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese are celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
People pray under a prayer lantern at the popular Longshan Temple for the Chinese New Year,
People pray under a prayer lantern at the popular Longshan Temple for the Chinese New Year, "Year of the Pig," in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, February 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese are celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese are celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese are celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Chinese are celebrating the Lunar New Year, which marks the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A paramilitary policeman stands on guard near a shop selling pinwheel fans during a Lunar New Year carnival at a public park in Beijing, Thursday, February 7, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A paramilitary policeman stands on guard near a shop selling pinwheel fans during a Lunar New Year carnival at a public park in Beijing, Thursday, February 7, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A tour guide holds a flag as he lectures to a group of tourists at the Forbidden City in Beijing, Friday, February 8, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating a week-long holiday for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A tour guide holds a flag as he lectures to a group of tourists at the Forbidden City in Beijing, Friday, February 8, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating a week-long holiday for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Tourists take photos of an exhibition about traditional imperial celebrations of the Lunar New Year at the Forbidden City in Beijing, Friday, February 8, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating a week-long holiday for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Tourists take photos of an exhibition about traditional imperial celebrations of the Lunar New Year at the Forbidden City in Beijing, Friday, February 8, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating a week-long holiday for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Tourists look at Chinese calligraphy at an exhibition about traditional imperial celebrations of the Lunar New Year at the Forbidden City in Beijing, Friday, February 8, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating a week long holiday for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Tourists look at Chinese calligraphy at an exhibition about traditional imperial celebrations of the Lunar New Year at the Forbidden City in Beijing, Friday, February 8, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating a week long holiday for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A woman poses for photos with the Chinese character for
A woman poses for photos with the Chinese character for "prosperity" near an exhibition about traditional imperial celebrations of the Lunar New Year at the Forbidden City in Beijing, Friday, February 8, 2019. Chinese people are celebrating a weeklong holiday for the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Performers take part in a night parade to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The Lunar New Year this year marks the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Ethnic Chinese Thai devotees burn incense sticks and pray at a temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. In Bangkok where dusty smog has clogged the city's air in recent weeks, most ignored government recommendations to burn less and went ahead with their Lunar New Year celebrations by lighting incense sticks and paper offerings for their ancestors. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Ethnic Chinese Thai devotees burn incense sticks and pray at a temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, February 5, 2019. In Bangkok where dusty smog has clogged the city's air in recent weeks, most ignored government recommendations to burn less and went ahead with their Lunar New Year celebrations by lighting incense sticks and paper offerings for their ancestors. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
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