January 30, 2014 12:30 pm
Updated: January 30, 2014 1:10 pm

Gallery: Lunar New Year celebrations from around the world

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Raw video: Lunar New Year celebrations across China

Preparations are underway for the Lunar New Year holiday that begins at midnight.

Lanterns of various shapes have been lit up across cities in China to celebrate the country’s most important festival, which will start on Friday and lasts for 15 days.

In southwest Chinese city Chengdu, the 46th International Giant Panda Lantern Show opened to the public Thursday night. A total of 125 sets of lanterns illuminated the city’s Mount Tazi Park.

Apart from the traditional giant panda-themed lanterns, a variety of horse-shaped lanterns also made appearance at the show, celebrating the upcoming Year of the Horse in Chinese Zodiac.

Mainland China will virtually shut down for a week, and many residents of Beijing have already boarded planes, trains and buses for holiday destinations.

Below is a collection of images as Chinese communities around the world were gearing up for the holiday that begins at midnight:

A couple takes pictures in front of Chinese plum blossoms trees decoration in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (Photo credit: Daniel Chan/AP Photo)
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People walk past golden horse statues on display in front of a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. (Photo credit: Lai Seng Sin/AP Photo)
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A man walks at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Buddhist Temple decorated for the Chinese New Year in Jenjarom, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (Photo credit: Lai Seng Sin/AP Photo)
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A group of dancers perform a Chinese traditional lion dance during the ‘Ngelawang’ Ritual at Dharmayana Chinese Temple on Jan. 30, 2014 in Kuta, Indonesia. (Photo credit: Agung Parameswara/Getty Images)
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A visitor passes the trees decorated with red lanterns at the Spring Festival Temple Fair for celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year of Horse at the Temple of Earth park on Jan. 30, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Feng Li/Getty Images)
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A Balinese ethnic Chinese man prepares offerings during the ‘Ngelawang’ Ritual at Dharmayana Chinese Temple on Jan. 30, 2014 in Kuta, Indonesia.(Photo credit: Agung Parameswara/Getty Images)
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The horse toys are seen at a game area of the Spring Festival Temple Fair for celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year of Horse at the Temple of Earth park on Jan. 30, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Feng Li/Getty Images)
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Chinese folk artists perform during the opening ceremony of the Spring Festival Temple Fair at the Temple of Earth park on Jan. 30, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Feng Li/Getty Images)
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Chinese paramilitary police officers dressed as Qing Dynasty servants before a re-enactment of an ancient ceremony of Qing Dynasty emperors praying for good harvest and fortune during the opening ceremony of the Spring Festival Temple Fair at the Temple of Earth park on Jan. 30, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Feng Li/Getty Images)
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A group of dancers perform a Chinese traditional lion dance during the ‘Ngelawang’ Ritual on Jan. 30, 2014 in Kuta, Indonesia. (Photo credit:Agung Parameswara/Getty Images)
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