People around the world headed to the streets to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and to welcome the Year of the Horse. Chinese New Year, which began on Friday, is the most important holiday in the country’s calendar with residents getting a week-long holiday. But this year celebrations were relatively low-key in China. Chinese festivities normally begin with extravagant fireworks displays, which are believed to bring good luck and dispel evil spirits. However, as smog has blanketed parts of central and eastern China over the last few months, officials called on residents to buy fewer fireworks in order to lessen air pollution in the country.
Even the New Year galas, which are shown on state television, were reduced in scale in keeping with President Xi Jinping’s call for frugality, Reuters reported. The holiday was also marked in cities around the world. Sydney kicked off a week of festivities with a parade through the city’s centre attended by 100,000, according the City of Sydney Council.
The parade featured rocking horses, jockeys and a giant Trojan horse all moving to the sounds of pop song Horses, by Daryl Braithwaite. In keeping with the Year of the Horse celebrations, even the mounted police got a cheer from the crowd, according to AAP. New York’s celebrations saw 5,000 participate in a parade through the streets of Chinatown. Magicians, acrobats, and dragon puppeteers spilled out into nearby streets.