1 of 12
Wally Santana, Associated Press
In this Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, photo, devotees offer incense sticks on the eve of the Chinese new year at the Lungshan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan. According to the Lunar calendar, Chinese will celebrate the Lunar New Year on Feb. 19 this year which marks the Year of the Sheep.

Across Asia, fireworks and firecrackers ushered in the Lunar New Year on Thursday.

Dragon and lion dancers performed in bustling and noisy Chinatowns in Southeast Asian capitals, where ethnic Chinese trooped to temples to burn incense sticks and offer prayers.

The Year of the Sheep, known variably as the Year of the Goat or Ram, is celebrated during the seven-day holiday, which started Wednesday. Unlike the previous Year of the Horse, which was generally considered to be an auspicious time, this year, according to some astrologists, would bring a volatile economy, more transport accidents and windy natural disasters.