Year of the Horse celebrations begin

The monks at Berkeley's Nan Tien Temple have strung their lanterns, erected 12 giant Chinese horoscope statues and prepared a vegetarian feast for Thursday night's Lunar New Year's Eve celebrations.

As the Year of the Snake slithers out, Asian communities around the world will usher in the Year of the Horse with a strike of the gong at midnight.

In the Chinese zodiac calendar, the horse is smart, handsome, hardworking and energetic.

The temple's Reverend Miao You hopes the new year will be filled with harmony and world peace. She passed on a message from the temple's master, Hsing Yun: "The noble steed gallops into a bright future".

"We are wishing everyone a carefree and happy mind in 2014," she said. "It's a time of auspiciousness and good cheer."

More than 2000 people are expected to join in the celebrations at the temple, including a vegetarian food fair, chanting service at 9.30pm, lion dance at 10.30pm and incense offering at 11pm. A Dharma Service will be held at 10am tomorrow.

In Sydney, there will be a twilight parade on Sunday night with hundreds of colourful horses, Chinese dragons and floats.

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