The Lunar New Year is China's biggest holiday. Around the world, families are coming together to celebrate.

While often referred to as Chinese New Year or The Spring Festival, the celebration extends far beyond mainland China, with festivities and religious and cultural events occurring around the globe. 

Even New York Public schools have today off to celebrate, and on Feb 6, 2016, the Empire State Building lit up in red and gold to celebrate the new year.  

The Empire State Building lit in red and gold in honor of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images.

Preparation for Lunar New Year begins months in advance with plenty of decorations, food, and traditional gifts.

From aromatic flowers and spices to colorful dragons and hong bao (the traditional bright red envelopes filled with money and given to children) Lunar New Year is a feast for the senses. 

Here's 25 amazing photos of the hard work that goes into these celebrations, and what it looks like when all that planning pays off: 

1. In Hanoi, Vietnam, vendors begin selling vegetables and produce ahead of the celebrations.

Photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images.

2. People shop for red envelopes that hold the lucky-money that is traditionally given to relatives and friends.

Photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images.

3. These amazing dragon puppets are ready to give it their all as they parade down the streets.

Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images.

4. It's a sea of red and gold as a woman shops for Lunar New Year decorations in Kuala Lampur's Chinatown.

A woman shops for Lunar New Year decorations in Kuala Lampur's Chinatown. Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images.

5. Bulbs with eight stems are considered good luck — that's what these customers are looking for at a flower market in Hong Kong.

Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images.

6. Lunar New Year decorating pro-tip: One can never have too many red lanterns.

A worker carries lanterns in Changzhou, China. Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

7. Seriously. So many red lanterns.

A man decorates trees with red lanterns in a park in Changzhou, China. Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

8. In Beijing, performers dressed as imperial guards rehearse for a Lunar New Year ceremony.

Photo by Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images.

9. Hundreds of millions of people in China alone travel to their hometowns to celebrate Lunar New Year with their families.

Passengers pack a Shanghai rail station as they wait to board their trains home. Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

10. The Lunar New Year is the largest annual migration of humans, causing major lines and headaches across China.

Crowds outside the Guangzhou railway station in Guangzhou, China. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

11. Travel was complicated this year by wintery weather conditions that left many revelers temporarily stranded.

Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

12. Trains across China were completely packed, with no seats to spare.

Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

13. This Lunar New Year marks the beginning of The Year of the Monkey.

Plush monkeys at a shop in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown. Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images.

The Chinese calendar operates on a rotating zodiac of 12 animals, and each year is assigned a new animal. Last year was the Year of the Goat and this year is the Year of the Monkey. According to tradition, people born in the Year of the Monkey are considered curious, witty, strong-willed and cunning.

14. Here, a decoration bears the image of a monkey (and a Pepsi logo) in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images.

15. Last night, celebrations were held around the world to welcome the Year of the Monkey with Lunar New Year events.

Prayers at a temple in Cambodia's Kandal province to mark the start of the new year. Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images.

Like the Gregorian New Year, the biggest celebration of Lunar New Year occurs on New Year's Eve. Festivities often occur for 15 days, with many traditional elements including dragon dancers, paper lanterns, traditional foods, and prayer. 

16. In Latha Township in Myanmar, men performed a dragon dance.

Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images.

17. In Los Angeles, CA, a couple prayed with joss sticks at a temple.

Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

18. Thean Hou temple was decorated with red lanterns in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images.

19. In Beijing, people visited temples to burn incense for good luck.

Photo by Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images.

20. People in Kuala Lumpur did the same at their temples.

Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images.

21. Fireworks lit up the night in Dandong, China.

Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

22. The New York City skyline had a Lunar New Year fireworks show of its own.

Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images.

23. In Myanmar, crowds gathered to watch dragon dance performances.

Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images.

24. At a temple on Indonesia's Bali Island, people offered prayers at a temple.

Photo by Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images.

25. In Dandong, China, a man set off fireworks of his own.

Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

26. At a temple in Hong Kong, used joss sticks (incense) piled up, evidence of yet another successful and happy Lunar New Year celebration.

Used joss sticks thrown away at a temple in Hong Kong. Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images.

Wishing all who celebrate a safe and happy new year!


1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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