Chinese Year of Rooster kicks off with fanfare in Nigeria

Updated 2017-01-29 09:13:19 Xinhua

The Chinese community in Nigeria on Saturday held a carnival-like celebration to mark the beginning of Chinese Lunar New Year 2017, Year of the Rooster.

In Abuja, Nigeria's capital, the event, organized by the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, witnessed a large turnout of Chinese citizens, local Nigerian officials, and students.

It was the first of several events outlined for the celebration of what is also known as the Spring Festival observed by the Chinese people.

The revelers, who gathered at the China Cultural Center tucked in the central business area of Abuja city, were enthralled by an exhibition of the Chinese culture and various Chinese and Nigerian art performances as well as the Chinese traditional lion dance performed by students of the Government Girls Secondary School in the Nigerian town of Dutse.

Zhou Pingjian, Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, told Xinhua the celebration was to mark the beginning of good things to come.

In an earlier message to congratulate China, the Chinese community in Nigeria and the world over on the Chinese lunar new year, Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari noted the Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese. The celebration emphasizes the concept of family and the opportunity of reunion -- values shared by both Nigeria and China, Buhari wrote in a statement released by his office last Sunday.

The Spring Festival has gained popularity in most cities in Nigeria due to the sense of anticipation and excitement shared by the Chinese community in the West African country for the festival and the way it is colorfully celebrated every year.

The Chinese new year celebrations are emblematic of the cultural tradition, heritage and aesthetic aspirations of the Chinese nation, abounding in distinctive Chinese symbols of great emotional appeal.

The tradition of such celebrations by Chinese dates back to more than 4,000 years and includes displaying fireworks, Chinese new year couplets, preparing Jiaozi (the Chinese dumplings) and having the family reunion dinner on the new year's eve.

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