Raw: Asia Prepares for Lunar New Year


Final preparations are underway across Asia for lunar New Year beginning Saturday. This year will be the year of the snake, or little dragon, which is believed to bring good fortune. (Feb. 8)





Beijing, China, Taipei, Taiwan and Hanoi, Vietnam - Feb. 6 - 8, 2013


Final preparations are underway in China and across Asia for the lunar New Year which begins on Saturday.

Workers in Beijing hung decorations and set up booths ahead of the temple fairs which open for business on New Year's eve, while Taiwanese shoppers packed crowded markets stocking up on everything from sausages to fake flowers and toy mascots.

This year will be the Year of the Snake - or also known as the little dragon - and many hope that it will bring good fortune traditionally associated with the full-size fire-breather which in Chinese mythology is linked to all-powerful leaders of the imperial past.

In China, millions of city dwellers and tourists are expected to rush into dozens of temple fairs in the city for shopping, eating and enjoying national cultural performances.

"I hope people will be very happy during the new year so that we can make money," said Gaming booth vendor Li Jibe.

"This is our primary purpose to be here but of course we are happy to make people feel entertained," he added.

In Taipei, one shop owner described her hopes for the coming year.

"The Year of Snake will be a prosperous year, we call it a little dragon year. So I wish Taiwan's economy can be a little bit better," Liu Wen-jiu said.

But in Chinese mythology the snake also has a destructive power.

After consulting his charts, fortune teller Tsai Shang-chi warned of conflicts and violence in the Asia in his predictions.

"There will be conflict in the East, and the South East area will have violent conflicts. And in East Asia and South East Asia area, natural and man-made disasters will be increased. And also East China sea and South China sea will experience tense situations," said Tsai.

But no matter what the fortune tellers said about the year of snake, most people are in the festive mood, looking forward to the time when the business and markets will be closed, when people can enjoy the rare down time with their families and loved ones.

In Vietnam shoppers in Hanoi's old quarter were gearing up for the celebration, which they call "tet".

Red and gold are favourite colours for the holiday. In Vietnamese culture, the colours represent luck and wealth.


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