The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations kicked off with traditional fervour at the China Town Park in New York on January 23.

Celebrations started with the bursting of firecrackers, meant to ward off evil spirits. Day-long festivities included singing, dancing and performances by Chinese artists.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wished all New Yorkers of Asian descent a prosperous New Year while enjoying the lion dance at a Chinese New Year Celebration on Mott Street.

"The Lunar New Year is a time for renewal as we look forward to the year ahead and celebrate the proud heritage and culture of New Yorkers of Asian descent across the five boroughs. This New Year is especially exciting because it represents the Year of the Dragon - an auspicious symbol of optimism and promise," he said.

Take a look at the Chinese New Year Celebrations at New York.

Chinese New Year 2012: A traditional dance troupe performs during Chinese New Year celebrations in New York's Chinatown January 23, 2012.Reuters
Chinese New Year 2012: A traditional dance troupe performs during Chinese New Year celebrations in New York's Chinatown.Reuters
Chinese New Year 2012: Confetti rains down on people during Chinese New Year celebration in New York's ChinatownReuters
Chinese New Year 2012: Nelson Chan is dressed as the God of Fortune during Chinese New Year celebrations in New York's Chinatown.Reuters
Chinese New Year 2012: Chinese Americans take part in a Chinese New Year celebration in New York's Chinatown January 23,Reuters
Chinese New Year 2012: Children take part in Chinese New Year celebrations in New York's Chinatown January 23, 2012.Reuters