Chinese residents in Beijing flocked to White Cloud Temple on 19 February to welcome the Year of the Goat.

On the way in, people rubbed the monkey carving near the entrance, as the animal is believed to bring good luck and ward off bad luck in the year to come.

Many came to pray for a better year ahead.

Duan Xucheng, a sales manager from northern Inner Mongolia region, who visited the temple with his family, said that he hoped for a better year ahead in light of many disasters in the past year.

Beijing resident and accountant Ying Zhe said that she came to pray for cleaner air in Beijing, known for its high levels of pollution.

In recent years, the Chinese government has limited the sale of fireworks, which give off large amounts of smoke, citing environmental concerns.

Many of those who visited the temple hung up their prayers that were written on red pieces of paper.

Nearby, many threw coins at a bell set inside an empty well.

According to folklore, if you hit the bell with a coin, your wishes will be granted.

Lunar New Year is the longest and most important holiday season in the Chinese calendar.