26 beautiful photos from Lunar New Year celebrations around the globe.

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!

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"The school system is broken. It may be broken beyond repair."

Talented, dedicated teachers are leaving public schools because the system makes it too hard to truly educate kids.

When I studied to become a teacher in college, I learned what education can and should be. I learned about educational psychology and delved into research about how to reach different learners, and couldn't wait to put that knowledge into practice in the classroom.

But after graduating and starting to teach, I quickly saw how the school system makes it almost impossible to put what we know about real learning into practice. The structure and culture of the system simply isn't designed for it.

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"Why would a teacher of the year nominee, who loves what she does, who has the best team, the best students and parents, and was lucky enough to be at the best elementary school not want to come back?", she wrote. "Let me tell you why….

1. Class size. Everything in my training, what I know about kids and what I see every day says that early childhood classes should be at 24 or less. (ideally 22 or less) Kids are screaming for attention. There are so many students who have social or emotional disorders. They NEED their teacher to take time to listen to them. They NEED their teacher to see them. They NEED less students in their class. The people making these decisions are NOT looking out for the students' best interests, and have very obviously NEVER taught elementary kids.

2. Respect. I feel disrespected by the district all year long. They don't trust that I know what I am doing. I have a college degree, go to trainings every year, read books and articles about kids, and most importantly, work with kids every day. I KNOW something about how they learn and what works best for them. Please listen to us.

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Maile says the system may be broken beyond repair, which is why she's tapping into a growing educational movement.

"The school system is broken," Maile continued. "It may be broken beyond repair. Why are counselors being taken away when we need them more than ever? Why are art and music classes disappearing when these forms of expression have been proven to release stress in an overstressed world. Why are librarians being cut when we should be encouraging kids to pick up an actual book instead of being behind a screen? Do you know how many elementary students are on anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications? Look. The number will astound you.

So where am I going? Because I still love kids and want to help them with their education, I will be an online charter school teacher. I will be helping families who have chosen to homeschool their kids. They also see that the school system is broken. When I told my school I was leaving, I had multiple veteran teachers say, 'I would do the same if I was younger.' 'I am so glad you are getting out now.' 'It is only going to get worse.' 'I don't see it ever getting better.'

It makes me sad. I have three kids that are still part of this public school system. If you are a public school parent, fight. Fight for your kids. Fight for smaller class sizes and pay raises for overworked teachers. Fight to keep art and music in the schools. Please support teachers whenever and wherever you can. I have been so lucky to have so many amazing parents. I couldn't have done what I have without them. I am sad to leave, but happy to go."

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What to do about public education a hard question. Many former teachers like myself strongly believe in public schooling as a foundational element of civilized society, but simply can't see how to make it work well without dismantling the whole thing and starting over.

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