Americans celebrate the Lunar New Year [photo gallery]

People around the world, including Americans, are preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year with festivals, parades and temple visits during which they will ask for blessings.

While most will be welcoming the Year of the Rabbit (a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity), Vietnam is moving into the Year of the Cat (strength, resilience and determination). The traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar’s new year celebration begins January 22 and ends February 5.

Here are ways Americans typically mark the holiday, which in 2023 is expected to bring a year of hope.

Seek answers

Woman holding block up to her bowed head (© Damian Dovarganes/AP)
(© Damian Dovarganes/AP)

A worshipper prays while holding the moon blocks, or jiaobei, used in pairs and thrown to seek divine guidance in the form of a yes or no question, during the Lunar New Year celebrations at the Thien Hau Temple in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Honor elders

Woman wearing traditional Korean clothing shows group of children the proper way to bow (© Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images)
(© Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images)

Lissa Kim teaches students the proper way to bow in front of elders at a celebration of Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year, at the Claire Lilienthal school in San Francisco. Students in the Korean immersion program wear hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing, and participate in a variety of activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Cook dumplings

People making dumplings (© Xinhua/Wang Ying/Getty Images)
(© Xinhua/Wang Ying/Getty Images)

Students make dumplings in New York. About 200 Chinese, U.S. and other international college students gathered for a Lunar New Year gala. Dumplings represent prosperity because their shape resembles ancient Chinese currency. They are also seen as a way to welcome the new while sending away the old.

Share food

People filling bags with food on sidewalk (© Seth Wenig/AP)
(© Seth Wenig/AP)

Yoon Kim, center, along with other volunteers from the Korean American Association of New Jersey, pack bags to give away at an event celebrating the Lunar New Year in Palisades Park, New Jersey. The bags contain the ingredients for dduk guk, a rice cake soup that is traditionally eaten by Koreans to celebrate the new year.

Make noise

People cheering as firecrackers go off (© Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(© Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

People attend a firecracker ceremony and cultural festival to mark the first day of the Lunar New Year in the Chinatown neighborhood in New York City. Firecrackers are thought to drive away evil spirits and to signal the start of a new year. Red, considered the color of good luck, is worn in abundance.

Love a parade!

Child reaching out to touch lion dancer during parade (© Josie Lepe/AP)
(© Josie Lepe/AP)

A child reacts to dancers dressed in a lion costume during the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco. Lion dances are performed to bring good fortune and scare away evil spirits.