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Chinese New Year celebrations herald in the Year of the Snake

Celebrations around the world are ringing in the Chinese New Year, which is also often referred to as the Lunar New Year.

The holiday is considered the most important of all traditional Chinese holidays, and celebrations are widespread and generally continue for several days.

All around the world celebrations ranging from parades to fireworks displays celebrated the coming of the New Year.

Major celebrations are held not only in China, but also in countries with significant Chinese populations like neighbouring Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore, for example, as well as here in Canada.

Families often gather together and windows and doors are often decorated with good-luck charms.

This year is the Year of the Snake, which is considered an intelligent but somewhat dishonest creature in the Chinese zodiac.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Saturday took part in Chinese New Year celebrations to help ring in the New Year.