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China celebrates Lunar New Year ahead of Olympics

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Article by: APnews

BEIJING (AP) — The Lunar New Year in China and the Winter Olympics in Beijing get started only days apart this year.

Bing Dwen Dwen, the chubby panda with the cute smile that is serving as the Olympic mascot, celebrated the Year of the Tiger with locals in Beijing on Monday night — four days before the opening ceremony of the 2022 Games.

An Olympic worker holds a paper with a Chinese character for fortune written on it as he poses with Bing Dwen Dwen, the Beijing Winter Olympics mascot, on the eve of the Chinese New Year at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Revelers around the host city celebrated and took photos outside displays for the Beijing Games at Tiananmen Square.

The Lunar New Year is the most important annual holiday in China. Each year it is named after one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, with this year being the Year of the Tiger.

At the Olympics, athletes and workers are being kept in bubbles to stop the spread of the virus. They are staying in walled-off hotels and can come and go only in special vehicles that take them to the venues and other Olympics facilities.

As of the end of Monday, 272 people had tested positive among more than 10,000 arrivals for the Olympics, organizers said.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, giant panda cubs play as they make a group appearance at the Shenshuping base of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas in Wolong in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. Giant panda cubs born in 2021 were brought out on Monday for an event to mark the upcoming Lunar New Year. (Wang Xi/Xinhua via AP)
An Olympic worker picks up a sign with a Chinese character for fortune written on it on the eve of the Chinese New Year ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The National Stadium and the Beijing Olympic Tower are lit in red on the eve of the Chinese New Year ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Jan. 31, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A worker carries characters reading “Happiness” for an installation for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year on a pedestrian bridge in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A child plays jump rope near lantern decorations for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year on the remnants of a city wall in Beijing, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A man wearing a face mask printed with a cartoon tiger walks on a street during the Lunar New Year eve in Beijing, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Residents wearing masks pass by Chinese New Year decorations along an alley way in Beijing, China, Jan. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A woman left, and her husband, right, from the Shandong province, prepare reunion dishes with their friend at a house as they decided not to go back to their hometown due to recent pandemic travel restrictions during the Lunar New Year Eve in Beijing, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. People across Asia prepared Monday for muted Lunar New Year celebrations amid concerns over the coronavirus and virulent omicron variant, even as increasing vaccination rates raised hopes that the Year of the Tiger might bring life back closer to normal. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A visitor to a retail street poses with cat figures dressed with New Year hats on the first day of the Chinese Lunar Year of the Tiger in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Signs celebrating the Chinese New Year are seen behind insulated door curtains at the Big Air Shougang ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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