After his mandatory 2-year military service, Hsu Li-yen chose to learn the family craft of incense-making from his uncle, who currently runs the family's shop.

"People like to go to temples (to pray) for a good start of the new year ... they use incense and (fake) paper money to ask for a peaceful year ahead," says Hsu, 28. In this photo by Associated Press photographer Wally Santana, Hsu makes incense sticks to fill the huge orders in the runup to Chinese New Year.

He plans to spend time with his family over the holidays, saying, "I hope everyone can be healthy, safe, and happy throughout this new year."

Each day this week, the AP will showcase a single Chinese New Year-themed photo from around the Asia-Pacific region, illustrating what China's biggest holiday means to the country and its extensive Chinese diaspora.