01/25/2012 04:13 pm ET

Thousands Pray At Beijing's Lama Temple To Usher In The Chinese New Year (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Jan 23, 2012 marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in China, marking the arrival of the spring season. Festivities last for about 15 days with unique regional customs. This is a time for family to get together, feast and engage in general merriment. Among other customs, people in Beijing visit the Lama temple to offer their prayers for the new year and throw coins at an incense burner to make wishes come true.

Click through the slideshow to see photos from the Lunar New Year festivities:

Chinese New Year