COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — Thousands of firecrackers exploded in Orange County today in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

At Mile Square Park in Westminster, families were cooking up traditional Vietnamese fare. Kids were jumping on rides, playing games and watching performances at the free weekend event.

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Ten miles away in Costa Mesa, people lined up for the Tet Festival to enjoy Vietnamese dancing.

The big bangs are meant to scare off evil spirits.

“We celebrate prosperity, hope, blessings … great food and coming together,” one reveler said.

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For thousands attending Buddhist meditation centers, Friday night is a night to pray to Buddha for prosperity.

While some are relieved to say goodbye to 2017, the year of the demanding rooster, and welcome the year of the dog, associated with loyalty and honesty, Richard Nguyen says the New Year is what you make it.

“No day is a bad day. No year is a bad year,” he said. “Bad or good up to you.”

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Celebrations will continue through Sunday.