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Year of the pig welcomed with banquets, temple visits

In this Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, photo, Filipino-Chinese display piggy banks at the start of celebrations leading to next week's Lunar New Year in Chinatown, Manila, Philippines. This year is the Year of the Earth Pig on the Lunar calendar and is supposed to represent abundance, diligence and generosity. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) ORG XMIT: ASIA309

Asia is welcoming the lunar year of the pig with visits to temples, family banquets and the world’s biggest travel spree.

The streets of Beijing and other major Chinese cities were quiet and empty Tuesday after millions of people left to visit relatives or travel abroad during the year’s biggest family holiday.

Families gathered at home for multigenerational banquets. Shops, companies and government offices closed for the week.

In Hong Kong, worshippers stood in line for hours at the Wong Tai Sin Temple to welcome the lunar new year by lighting incense.

China’s railway ministry forecast mainland travelers would make 413 million trips during the three-week period around the holiday.