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Chinese New Year 2012: The Year of the Dragon
Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Despite hours of waiting and traveling in cramped trains and buses, people all over China are reuniting with their families and celebrating the New Lunar Year.

Today marks the beginning of an especially special year, the year of the dragon, which is considered the luckiest and strongest of all 12 Chinese zodiac animals.

More from GlobalPost: Chinese New Year of the Dragon promises good luck, babies

The dragon is the only mythical creature among the 12 zodiac animals and is a symbol associated with emperors of ancient China, symbolizing imperial power and intelligence.

Not surprisingly, Asia expects a dragon baby boom this year.

However, there is a deadline, reports The Telegraph.

May 2 is considered the last day to conceive if parents want to deliver a child in the Year of the Dragon, which ends next Feb. 9.

Famous dragon babies include Joan of Arc, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Bill Clinton, and Salvador Dali.

Below is a glimpse of the New Year ceremonies in Beijing:

RAW VIDEO: Elaborate New Year Ceremony in Beijing
Arts Video News by NewsLook
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Chinese young performers dressed in dragon costumes perform at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year of Dragon on Jan. 22, 2012 in Beijing, China.

(Feng Li - Getty Images)
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Chinese paramilitary policemen guard at the entrance of the check-in kiosks for real-name tickets at Beijing West Railway Station on Jan. 8, 2012 in Beijing, China. Authorities estimate 3.158 billion passenger journeys will be made for the Chinese lunar new year during the 40-day travel period.

(Feng Li - Getty Images)
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In this picture taken on Jan. 13, 2011, Chinese passengers queue up to board trains as they return home for the lunar Chinese New Year holiday at a railway station in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province. The world's largest annual migration of people begins in China on Jan. 8 with millions of travellers boarding public transport to journey across the vast country for the Lunar New Year celebrations

(STR - AFP/Getty Images)
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A father says goodbye to his child at the West Railway Station on Jan. 7, 2012 in Beijing, China. China's railways are bracing themselves as millions of migrant labourers are set to leave cities for their native villages to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

(Lintao Zhang - Getty Images)
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A Chinese woman and her son rest as they wait to board their train at a railway station in Hefei, east China's Anhui province on Jan. 18, 2011, as they return home for the lunar Chinese New Year holidays.

(STR - AFP/Getty Images)
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Chinese passengers wait in a train, which is specially offered for migrant workers by local government, to depart at a railway station in Beijing on Jan. 8, 2011, as they return home for the lunar Chinese New Year holiday.

(STR - AFP/Getty Images)
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Chinese people buy pork for the lunar new year's eve dinner in a Wal-Mart neighborhood market on Jan. 21, 2012 in Beijing, China. Chinese people are preparing for the lunar new year of Dragon, which will fall on Jan. 23, 2012. New year celebrations are also refered to as The Spring Festival.

(Feng Li - Getty Images)
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Children laugh while crouching near mandarin trees at the Hong Kong Chinese New Year Flower Market on Jan. 20, 2012. The Chinese New Year flower market in Hong Kong is both a flower market and a venue to showcase a large variety of unique products and toys.

(Aaron Tam - AFP/Getty Images)
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Chinese folk artists prepare to perform the dragon dance at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year of Dragon on Jan. 22, 2012 in Beijing, China. Falling on Jan. 23 this year, the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, which is based on the Lunisolar Chinese calendar, is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the lunar year and ends with Lantern Festival on the Fifteenth day.

(Feng Li - Getty Images)
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A Chinese blessing tablet with wishes for the new year written over them on the first day of the Year of the Dragon at the Dongyue Temple in Beijing on Jan. 23, 2012.

(Mark Ralston - AFP/Getty Images)
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An elderly Chinese woman attaches a blessing tablet with her wishes for the new year at the Dongyue Temple in Beijing today.

(Mark Ralston - AFP/Getty Images)
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Performers wearing costumes of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) take part in a worship ceremony in Tiantan Park, or the Temple of Heaven, in Beijing today.

(Ed Jones - AFP/Getty Images)
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Performers wearing costumes of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) take part in a worship ceremony in Tiantan Park, or the Temple of Heaven, in Beijing on Jan. 23, 2012.

(Ed Jones - AFP/Getty Images)
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Chinese folk artists perform the lion dance at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Sunday in Beijing. The Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, ends with the lantern festival on the 15th day.

(Feng Li - AFP/Getty Images)
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Scuba divers perform a dragon dance at the Shanghai aquarium to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year of the Dragon in Shanghai on Jan. 20, 2012.

(Peter Parks - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Chinese woman lights joss sticks to pray for prosperity and well being on the first day of the Year of the Dragon at the Dongyue Temple in Beijing on Jan. 23, 2012.

(Mark Ralston - AFP/Getty Images)
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A child performer adjusts her dragon costume during a performance at the 2012 Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade in Hong Kong today.

(Aaron Tam - AFP/Getty Images)
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A reveller writes the "Dragon" in traditional Chinese characters and 2012 with fireworks in Beijing on Jan. 22, 2012. China is preparing to say goodbye to the New Year of the Rabbit and welcome the New Year of the Dragon — which starts on Jan. 23 — with fireworks and dumplings, in the nation's most important annual, family holiday.

(Liu Jin - AFP/Getty Images)
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