Everything You Need To Know About The Chinese New Year

On Sunday, most of Asia and parts of the Western world began to drape themselves in red to mark the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the world’s longest celebrated festival. Steeped in astrology and traditions, this 15-day event is an aesthetic feast for the senses and a culturally rich celebration. To welcome the Year of the Monkey, here are 21 spectacular photos illustrating the best and most striking aspects of China’s foremost holiday. Kung hei fat choy!

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Chinese New Year Lantern Installation

The date of the Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, varies each year. It can fall between 21st January and February 10th, depending on the first full moon of the lunar calendar. - Pixabay

Chinese New Year Monkey

Following the 12-year Chinese astrological cycle, on February 7th 2016 the year of the goat will give way to that of the monkey, an animal associated with sharp intellect, energy and charisma, but also mischief and naughty curiosity. - Flickr/Vhines 2000

Chinese New Year Bangkok Parade Character

The festival is celebrated by a whopping one-fifth of the earth’s population. - Flickr/Aleksandr Zykov

Chinese New Year Malaysia Penang Temple

Beyond China and its territories, it is also observed in Malaysia (above), the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, South Korea, North Korea, and in Chinatowns around the globe. - Wikipedia

Chinese New Year London Parade

The largest celebrations outside Asia are found in London (pictured), San Francisco, Paris, Sydney, and New York City, where official events including parades and fireworks are held. - Flickr/John Pannell

Chinese New Year Chunyun Beijing Station

Chinese people’s cross-country and international travels to reunite with friends and relatives during the event give rise to the world’s largest annual human migration, known as chunyun. It is estimated that a grand 7.4% of the world’s population is on the move during that period. - Flickr/Charlie Fong

Chinese New Year Red Lanterns

The color red dominates New Year celebrations. It is traditionally thought to represent fire, which in Chinese culture is believed to prevent bad luck. - Flickr/Nelo Hotsuma

Chinese New Year Red Decorations

Throughout the holiday season, Chinese families adorn their houses with red decorations, including lanterns and chunlian poems printed on red paper strips. Red signs and banners are also used to decorate streets and public places. - Flickr/Upupa4me

Chinese New Year Red Envelope Exchange

Instead of presents, people exchange red envelopes containing “lucky money”, called hong bao. Those cash gifts may be presented by older family members to children, by bosses to their employees, etc. - Flickr/Michelle Lee

Red Envelope

The amount of money needs to be even, as an odd sum is considered unlucky. Moreover, it should not be divisible by 4, a number that represents death. - Flickr/Linh Nguyen

Chinese New Year Beijing Fireworks

As China produces 90% of the world’s fireworks, it is no surprise that the latter play a significant part in the festivities. The Chinese New Year period sees the largest annual usage of fireworks and firecrackers on the planet. - Flickr/Jon

Chinese New Year Hong Kong Fireworks

The most popular and spectacular display is the firework show held over Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. The performance comes to conclude a day traditionally spent by Hong Kongers at the Sha Tin horseracing track. - Flickr/Michael Elleray

Chinese New Year Lantern Festival

The 15th and last day of the celebration is the lantern festival, on which lanterns are released to light the way for the new year. - Pixabay

Chinese New Year Evil Spirits

Beyond their aesthetic value, the bright lanterns and fireworks are believed to chase away evil spirits and monsters. - International Business Times

Nian Dragon

In particular, the festivities are intended to scare away Nian, the man-eating dragon most often portrayed in the parades. - Pixabay

Chinese New Nian Dragon Parade

According to tradition, the colorful beast comes out of his den on New Year’s Eve but is repelled by the red lights and decorations. - Pixabay

Chinese New Year Flowers

The two flowers of the New Year – the plum blossom and water narcissus – are also abundantly represented in the festival’s imagery. - Flickr/Kneth

Chinese New Year Tray Of Togertherness

On this highly family-oriented holiday, an important symbol is the chuen-hop or “tray of togetherness”, a circular tray filled with a variety of sweet treats to share with guests. - Flickr/Josiah Lau

Chinese New Year Candied Fruit

Candied apples and other fruits are also popular treats during the holiday season. Those sugar-coated skewers are sold at street stalls and temple fairs around the country. - Wikipedia

Chinese New Year Open House

After cleaning their houses thoroughly, on New Year’s Eve families open their doors and windows to let the new year in on the stroke of midnight. - Wikipedia

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Photo Of The Day: Why Nazi Chic Is Sweeping Thailand

Thailand Hitler

A sign for the Seven Star clothing shop in Bangkok, Thailand displaying the likeness of Adolf Hitler, dressed as Ronald McDonald. Image Source: Flickr

If the words “Nazi” and “chic” don’t naturally pair together in your mind, that’s understandable, but also a sign that you’ve overlooked a lot of history. For decades now, various subcultures around the globe have co-opted Nazi iconography for assorted reasons.

But while co-opting made some semblance of sense in, say, late 1970s Britain — when punk rockers aimed to shock and offend their parents’ generation, who had lived through World War II — the relatively recent wave of Nazi chic in southeast Asia doesn’t quite compute.

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Then And Now: London’s Most Visited Landmark, From Prostitutes To Tourists

Vintage Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus, London, 1949. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

London’s Piccadilly Circus has been a heavily trafficked thoroughfare for about 200 years. Since its construction, it has seen a plethora of changes and additions to the classic architecture of its buildings and roadway, but it has remained one of the most recognized intersections in the world with around 100 million tourists visiting annually (which — although it’s a thoroughfare as opposed to a destination in the strictest sense — probably makes it London’s most visited landmark).

It has served as everything from a center for art and culture to a WWII prostitutes’ hangout to its current iteration as a profitable tourist attraction. And while, through all those changes, its crowded streets have never been easy to navigate, it remains a staple on the list of places to visit in London.

Piccadilly Circus Now

Piccadilly Circus, London, 2012. Image Source: YouTube

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Selfie Trend Put Into Perspective: The Total Number Of Selfie-Related Deaths Since 2014

Selfie Deaths

Russian daredevil Instagrammer Kirill Oreshkin (top). Image Source: Kirill Oreshkin / Instagram

Even if you’re not among the 95% of millennials that take selfies, you know that the selfie is the reigning king of amateur photography. According to a wave of recent reporting, the prevalence of selfies is utterly staggering: the average millennial will take 25,700 in their lifetime; it is claimed that females aged 16 to 25 spend five hours taking selfies per week; and on average, 93 million selfies are taken worldwide each day.

But perhaps the most shocking statistic involves a far smaller number: 49. That’s the number of people that have died taking a selfie since just 2014.

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