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Spotlight: Chinese Lunar New Year celebrated worldwide

Editor: Wang Lingxiao 丨Xinhua

01-31-2017 11:00 BJT

Full coverage: 2017 Spring Festival

BEIJING, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Think twice if you believe Chinese New Year is only celebrated in China or Chinatowns worldwide.

From London to New York, with colorful parades, fireworks and red lanterns, people across the globe are now joining the Chinese in celebrating the arrival of the Year of Rooster.

Children perform dancing during the Chinese Lunar New Year parade in Vancouver, Canada, Jan. 29, 2017. More than 70 parade troops with 3,000 participants paraded along the streets of Chinatown to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. (Xinhua/Liang Sen)

Children perform dancing during the Chinese Lunar New Year parade in Vancouver, Canada, Jan. 29, 2017. More than 70 parade troops with 3,000 participants paraded along the streets of Chinatown to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. (Xinhua/Liang Sen)

On Sunday morning, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau led a procession of political leaders, community groups and dancers through Vancouver's historic Chinatown for the city's annual Chinese New Year Parade.

Spectators were standing shoulder-to-shoulder along the sidewalks as fire crackers snapped over a din of drums.

Lion dancers dressed in silver, purple and red lurched and bobbed to the backing of drum beats outside the Chinese Cultural Center. The event marked the largest assembly of lion dancers in all of Canada and attracted nearly 100,000 spectators.

"I love the Chinese New Year Parade because it brings all cultures together to celebrate the Asian culture and that's what we do in Vancouver," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, is China's most important and ceremonious traditional festival. The week-long holiday is about family reunion and togetherness, just like Christmas in the West.

The festival is celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month.

This year, the first day of the Chinese lunar new year falls on Saturday, initiating the year of the Rooster, based on the Chinese zodiac. The far-flung celebration offers people beyond the country an opportunity to feel the charm of China's traditions and culture.

In Britain, the 2017 Chinese New Year has been welcomed with its biggest ever program of events and celebrations.

From London's Trafalgar Square to major cities across the country, tens of thousands of British people have joined Chinese communities in celebrating the joyful event.

Celebrations in Britain's capital city have been among the biggest outside of Asia, with a colorful parade starting in central London's Chinatown, ending at a main stage in Trafalgar Square for a festival of music and dance.

In Manchester there was a Dragon Parade, led by a spectacular 54-meter-long dragon, and ending in Chinatown, where there were traditional Chinese entertainment, more than 6,000 lanterns, street food villages and a fireworks finale.

Europe's oldest Chinatown in Liverpool hosted its biggest ever new year celebrations, for the first time spanning three days.

Celebrations are also taking place in Birmingham, Durham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle.

In Japan, the Chinese Spring Festival has been celebrated all over the country, attracting admiration for the Chinese culture among both local people and visitors from all over the world.

On Saturday, the Chinatown in Yokohama, the capital city of eastern Japan's Kanagawa prefecture, was filled with a festive atmosphere. Tens of thousands of visitors came to Yokohama's Chinatown, the largest Chinese community in Japan, to feel the festive atmosphere.

With red lanterns and flags hung high on the Chinese-styled buildings along the streets, the whole Chinatown is adorned in red and gold banners denoting happiness, wealth and good luck, and is alive with people from all parts of the world.

There are a series of special events in Yokohama's Chinatown to celebrate the New Year until March, starting with a lion dance.

Meanwhile in midtown Manhattan, New York, the top of the Empire State Building shone in special red and gold at sunset Thursday and Friday to welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in Washington have experienced an authentic Chinese festival through a celebration at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which featured dragon dances and other traditional Chinese folk artforms.

Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai and Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton kicked off the event Saturday with a dragon awakening ceremony, during which they painted color onto a dragon's eyes.

With musical performances, dances, paper cutting, calligraphy, painting, dough sculpting and bristle dolls, the event presented both traditional and modern traits of the Chinese culture to its visitors.

In Poland, a series of events celebrating the Chinese New Year were held on Saturday in many cities including the capital Warsaw and Wroclaw in the southwest of the country.

The SWPS University in Warsaw prepared an appealing New Year's celebrations program on Saturday and Sunday, including a lecture on Chinese New Year pictures by Professor Krzysztof Gawlikowski, a leading expert on China.

The events also included a quiz about Chinese New Year which covered the topics of Chinese customs and traditions, a calligraphy workshop, Chinese board games and a traditional New Year meal with dumplings.

A grand crowd of Estonians were also entertained on Sunday with a great Chinese cultural event including dragon and lion dancing, martial arts, acrobatics and Chinese traditional music concert to celebrate the Chinese New Year abroad.

While delivering a speech, Taavi Aas, acting mayor of Estonia's capital city of Tallinn, wished a happy Chinese New year to all and referred to the culture of the Year of the Rooster.

He told Xinhua that Estonians are interested in Chinese culture, and that cultural exchange is beneficial to promoting closer bilateral cooperation in various sectors including business and information technology.

Similar events were also held in many other countries including Thailand, Cambodia, Nigeria, Mexico and Bazil.

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