Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year

In the largest annual migration on the planet, hundreds of millions of Chinese are travelling to their hometowns to celebrate the Lunar New Year, also called the Spring Festival or simply the Chinese New Year. The ultimate objective? Spending precious time with family, feasting on traditional foods while assessing the past year and seeking good fortune for the year ahead. So how do Chinese celebrate this special time? Let's take a look through a camera lens.

Some regions observe a "Little New Year" about a week before the official Lunar New Year. In Shenyang, in northeast China's Liaoning province, an employee puts the images of the Door God on the main gate of the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Little New Year, or Xiao Nian in Chinese, is also known as the Festival of the Kitchen God, who oversees the moral character of each household. 

Photographer: Li Hao/Imaginechina via AP Photo

Across China, some 332 million passenger trips by rail are expected over the holiday period. Weather and equipment delays can cause troublesome backups at some stations. The crush of humanity on the move is evident at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

A man walks past other travelers in the main hall of Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. In mainland China, officials prepare for more than 2.9 billion passenger trips that strain every conceivable mode of transportation.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Red is an auspicious and festive color in China, and people decorate their homes, factories and offices ahead of the festival. Here, a worker waits to hang red lanterns in a factory in the village of Tuntou in Hebei province, southwest of Beijing. The town's lantern makers have been working hard to keep up with demand.

Photographer: Fred Dufour/AFP via Getty Images

In the Chinese zodiac, this will be the Year of the Monkey. Coincidentally, the Monkey King, or Sun Wukong, is a mythical figure in Chinese literature featured in the classic novel "Journey to the West". Here the two traditions are combined. An inflatable, 10-meter-tall Monkey King is pictured on the 180-meter-high and 300-meter-long glass-bottomed suspension bridge at the Shiniuzhai National Geopark in central China's Hunan Province.

Photographer: Jiao Zi/Imaginechina via AP Photo

A man dressed as the Monkey King performs with sharks under water to entertain visitors at Zuohai Seafloor World in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province.

Photographer: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Customers browse decorations for Lunar New Year at a market stall in Shanghai.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Images of monkeys are ubiquitous as towns and cities get in the holiday mood. Some take it a step farther, with actual monkeys. A monkey raises its hand in class at a monkey training school at a zoo in Dongying, in eastern Shandong Province.

Photographer: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A worker cleans a statue of a Buddha ahead of the holidays in Medan, Indonesia. As varied as Lunar New Year customs are within China, different traditions are observed from Malaysia and Singapore to Europe and the Americas. 

Photographer: Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

Ethnic Chinese around the world share in the celebrations. A Malaysian-Chinese woman stands in front of a 72-foot-high Chinese lantern replica at Malaysian landmark KLCC, in Kuala Lumpur.

Photographer: Mohd Samsul Mohd Said/Getty Images

In Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, Navy sailors take time out from official duties to watch celebrations on a Panshi supply ship after a drill at sea near the naval port.

Photographer: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

Flowers are arranged on sale for Lunar New Year inside a store in Singapore's Chinatown.

Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

Inevitably, holiday themes are mixed with commerce. At a Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group store in Hong Kong, a gold monkey figurine is on display. China's imports of gold from Hong Kong surged 67 percent in December to the highest level in more than two years as stock-market turmoil and anticipation of a further weakening in the nation's currency spurred demand for a safer haven.

Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg

A visitor sits on a fairground ride at the AIA Great European Carnival in Hong Kong. The city's financial markets will close on Feb. 8 for the Lunar New Year holidays and resume trading on Feb. 11.

Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg

Spring Festival is a joyous time as families are reunited after long absences for work or study. Children are at the heart of family festivities. With schools on break, a girl enjoys her leisure time by riding on a scooter under decorations for a temple fair at Ditan Park in Beijing.

Photographer: Andy Wong/AP Photo