Hong Kong ushers in the year of the horse

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Photo - In this Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 photo, A horse swims as part of the routine exercise in a barn at Hong Kong's Jockey Club. Chinese communities around the world were welcoming the arrival of the year of the horse on Friday with equine-themed decorations and celebrations. The annual Lunar New Year holiday is mark with particular verve in Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous Chinese financial center that expects 7.93 million visitors, more than territory’s permanent population of 7.1 million. Like all animals in the Chinese zodiac, the horse sign comes imbued with certain characteristics, primarily vitality, loyalty, steadfastness and a sense of adventure. The year is considered especially significant for Hong Kong’s vibrant horse racing scene which boasts two world-class tracks and legions of enthusiastic fans. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 photo, A horse swims as part of the routine exercise in a barn at Hong Kong's Jockey Club. Chinese communities around the world were welcoming the arrival of the year of the horse on Friday with equine-themed decorations and celebrations. The annual Lunar New Year holiday is mark with particular verve in Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous Chinese financial center that expects 7.93 million visitors, more than territory’s permanent population of 7.1 million. Like all animals in the Chinese zodiac, the horse sign comes imbued with certain characteristics, primarily vitality, loyalty, steadfastness and a sense of adventure. The year is considered especially significant for Hong Kong’s vibrant horse racing scene which boasts two world-class tracks and legions of enthusiastic fans. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
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HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese communities around the world were ushering in the year of the horse starting Friday with equine-themed decorations and celebrations.

The annual Lunar New Year holiday is marked with a particular verve in Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous Chinese financial center that expects nearly 8 million visitors from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6 — more than the local population of 7.1 million. Most of those travelers will be mainland Chinese, who have been flooding into Hong Kong in increasing numbers in recent years thanks to rising incomes and a strengthening yuan.

Like all animals in the Chinese zodiac, the horse sign comes imbued with certain characteristics, such as vitality, loyalty, steadfastness and a sense of adventure. The year of the horse is generally considered an auspicious time, and business-savvy residents of Hong Kong are hoping for vigorous growth.

The year is considered especially significant for Hong Kong's vibrant horse racing scene, which boasts two world-class tracks and legions of enthusiastic fans.

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