A cheerful audience fell over themselves to catch a glimpse of a huge dragon mascot that walked into a venue of the 2020 Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Saturday.
The audience, including diplomats, as well as top government officials and captains of industries, applauded the mascot with its acrobatic dance and displays to mark the opening of the colorful celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Abuja.
The Chinese community in Nigeria held a carnival-like celebration that brought people of both countries, and citizens of other countries, who came from far and near to experience the opportunity of a colorful cultural exhibition that the event provided.
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 event, organized by the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and the China Cultural Center in Abuja, witnessed a large turnout of merrymakers, including high school students.
The revelers, who gathered at the China Cultural Center, tucked in the central business area of the Abuja city, were enthralled by a colorful exhibition of the Chinese culture and various Chinese and Nigerian art performances.
The dragon dance, performed by nine experienced Nigerian male dancers and one lady dancer who manipulated the long flexible figure of the dragon using a pole, was the opening act of the event.
It is often performed during Chinese new year celebrations.
In an interview, Zhou Pingjian, Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, told Xinhua the celebration was to mark the beginning of good things to come.
“With a fresh start here, we are very confident and optimistic about the cooperation and friendship between our two great countries and our relations,” Zhou said, referring to the mutually-beneficial cooperation between China and Nigeria.
In an earlier message to congratulate China, the Chinese community in Nigeria and the world over on the Chinese Lunar New year, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari noted that there is a new impetus in Nigeria-China relations and new opportunities for mutual benefits.
Many Nigerians present at the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Abuja acknowledged the Spring Festival as the most important traditional festival for the Chinese.
“This celebration clearly emphasizes the concept of family and the opportunity of reunion. And if you look around, you will observe that these two values are shared by both Nigerians and the Chinese,” said Goke Oloruntoba, a student at the University of Abuja.
The Spring Festival has gained popularity in 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.
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