* This year, the Chinese Spring Festival coincides with the Year of the Dragon. As the totem of the Chinese nation, the dragon is said to be strong, fearless and benevolent.
* Rich cultural activities allow people from all over the world to satisfy their curiosity about Chinese culture and become familiar with Chinese customs and history.
BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — The Chinese dragon, also known as “loong”, occupies an important place in Chinese mythology as a legendary and auspicious creature. Unlike their European counterparts, Chinese dragons do not exhale fire. Instead, they are often linked to water, symbolizing traits associated with commercial prosperity, bountiful harvests, and good health.
As the totem of the Chinese nation, the dragon is considered strong, fearless and benevolent, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during Spring Festival greetings to all Chinese people.
This year, the Chinese Spring Festival coincides with the Year of the Dragon, adding extra excitement to global celebrations. It also allows people to satisfy their curiosity about Chinese culture and become familiar with Chinese customs and history.
VIBRANT GLOBAL CELEBRATIONS
People around the world are rejoicing in this year's vibrant Spring Festival celebrations: from the bustling streets of Zurich, Switzerland, to the colorful events of Harare, Zimbabwe, the air is filled with enthusiasm.
Michael Hitz, a Swiss national, joined his Chinese neighbor at a Spring Festival event in Zurich, Switzerland, where he enjoyed Chinese delicacies. “Authentic Chinese cuisine is a must for Lunar New Year events like today,” he said.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, people from different communities come together to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, organized by the Zurich Traditional Chinese Culture Association.
Attendees enjoyed a cultural feast of traditional Chinese art, including children's choirs, guzheng (a Chinese plucked string instrument), dance and martial arts, before engaging in more than 20 varieties of Chinese specialties.
Lu Jinlian, president of the Zurich Traditional Chinese Culture Association, told Xinhua that around 230 guests shared the hybrid celebration.
In Zimbabwe, vibrant local dances and drumming performances were performed at the China-Zimbabwe Friendship High School in Harare, the country's capital, days before the Spring Festival to celebrate the Year of the Dragon.
On site, local students attending the event had the opportunity to learn Chinese martial arts, and they were also impressed by a Chinese martial arts performance performed by a visiting troupe from the Shaolin Wushu training center of Henan province.
“Today I joined the Chinese Kung Fu group. This martial art is difficult, but it is amazing,” said Brenda Moyo, a student at the school.
On February 3, a troupe from central China's Henan province put on a colorful performance during Chinese New Year celebrations at Furi Lebu railway station, west of the Ethiopian capital, Addis -Ababa.
Temesgen Yitayew, a Chinese language student at Addis Ababa University, said he was excited to see the acrobatic show.
“As you can see, I am carrying the national flags of China and Ethiopia to show that there are growing cultural and human ties between the two countries,” Yitayew said.
Abdi Zenebe, general manager of the Ethio-Djibouti Railway Share Company, told Xinhua that the performance brought a festive atmosphere to the station and the surrounding community.
RICH CULTURAL ATMOSPHERE
The Chinese Cultural Center located in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar, adorned with vibrant red cultural decorations, was bustling with visitors enjoying the Spring Festival in the Year of the Dragon.
Phoo Pwint Khine, 32, said: “This is my first time participating in such a New Year celebration at the cultural center. I am experiencing their traditional culture and admiring their calligraphy and paper-cutting work. “
The Spring Festival event, organized by the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar at the Chinese Cultural Center in Yangon, was decorated with red lanterns, couplets and various styles of Chinese calligraphy.
In Slovakia, people attended a concert celebrating the traditional Chinese New Year in Bratislava, the country's capital. Chinese musicians presented a performance featuring traditional Chinese music and the traditional Slovak folk song “Na Kralovej holi”.
“Events like this should be held more often to support cultural exchange. It was interesting to hear that many of the songs featured traditional Chinese instruments, but the melodies reminded me of Western music,” Jana said Benicka, Slovak director of the Confucius Institute at Comenius University. .
“Today's concert will also take us on a journey through Chinese melodies, history and the unique culture of China, which has positively influenced and enriched humanity for thousands of years through its precious philosophy, its literature and architecture,” said Marek Estok, the country’s secretary of state. Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
In Ethiopia, the cultural ambiance of central China's Henan province resonated in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa as a captivating troupe infused the essence of the Spring Festival into their performance.
Their repertoire included acrobatics, martial arts, face changes and a delightful mix of Chinese and traditional Ethiopian dances, creating an enchanting atmosphere at the Ethiopian National Theater.
Kebede Kassa, an employee of the Addis Ababa municipal administration, told Xinhua that he enjoyed the cultural performance very much, noting that Chinese cultural performances have been his favorite since childhood.
“I am so happy that the Chinese cultural troupe came to Ethiopia. This event was unique in the sense that it featured a mixture of Chinese and Ethiopian (African) cultures,” Kassa said.
To celebrate the New Year, Nigeria's Chinese community held a carnival in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. For Adeshina Adegboye, a Nigerian mechanical engineer, the festive atmosphere in her city was “electrifying”.
“As you can see, this celebration clearly shows the shared joy of the Chinese and their Nigerian friends,” said Adegboye, participating for the first time in the annual temple fair, a traditional cultural event featuring various types of Chinese folk art.
Martins Ifeanyi, a Nigerian businessman, told Xinhua that the celebration was aimed at welcoming a new year and connecting communities, adding that the event was clearly a celebration of shared experiences.
“This celebration is more than just traditions,” enthused Amina Yusuf, a Nigerian present at the event with her two daughters. “It's more like a mix of cultures coming together. It's interesting to know that the Chinese believe that the Year of the Dragon will bring positive vibes. And we're excited to share that with them.”
To immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities of dragon and lion dances, enchanting fish lantern displays and captivating Hanfu shows, one should not overlook the dazzling performances of the Chinese community on the iconic Champs-Élysées in Paris.
A temporary “pedestrian zone” extending about 300 meters from Fouquet's restaurant to near the Arc de Triomphe allowed some 50,000 people to attend the performances, according to statistics from the China Tourism Bureau in Paris.
“Magnificent event, the first time I personally see an event like this, it's grandiose,” Jean-Baptiste, who visited the area, told Xinhua. “There's no better place to do it; it's good to see colorful events like this from another culture.”
Foreign leaders and heads of international organizations sent their festive blessings to the Chinese people, expressing their expectations for stronger bilateral relations and win-win cooperation with China.
The United Nations officially included the Spring Festival as a floating holiday in its conference and meeting schedule starting in 2024. The arrival of this year's Spring Festival received the blessing of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“I am pleased to send you my warmest greetings as we usher in the Year of the Dragon. The Dragon symbolizes energy, wisdom, protection and good luck,” Guterres said.
“We need these qualities to meet today's global challenges,” Guterres said (Video reporters: Sun Xinjing, Deng Min, Li Hualing, Lu Huaiqian, Wu Lu, Du Juan, Huang Heng; video editors: Wu Yao, Zhao Xiaoqing).
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