BEIJING — The Chinese-speaking world ushered in the lunar Year of the Horse with dancing dragons, caroling soldiers and all-night fireworks barrages.
As midnight on Monday approached — and with it the year 2002 by the traditional lunar calendar — the growing crescendo of fireworks explosions in Beijing sounded like the unbroken roar of a jet engine.
The night sky burst with red, yellow and green as residents set off private displays all over the capital, ignoring a ban that outlawed fireworks in all but a few public places.
The celebrations picked up again Tuesday morning. In Longtan Park on Beijing’s south side, thousands beat drums and gongs while watching lines of red and blue-dressed dragon dancers.
On Monday night, China’s leaders formally celebrated in the Soviet-style Great Hall of the People in Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square. The hall was decked in bright red — the traditional color of celebration and of the Communist Party.