Subdued Masses Usher in Chinese New Year
But fears for economy temper enthusiasm
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 26, 2009 7:19 AM CST

(Newser) – Millions worldwide are marking the Chinese New Year with parties, firecrackers, and feasts, the BBC reports. But celebrations of the Lunar New Year, the most important Chinese holiday, were tempered by concerns about the economy in the coming Year of the Ox. In Beijing, many lit incense and prayed for a year of prosperity.

The Year of the Ox is associated with “calm, fortitude, and success through toil,” the BBC notes. But job losses in China have already prompted protests, offering a glimpse at what the government must grapple with in the coming year. President Hu Jintao today vowed more “equal development across society,” and the government said it would help train some 1 million jobless college grads in the next three years.