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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Nigerian expert says Chinese Spring
Festival becoming popular in Africa

By Olatunji Saliu ABUJA (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Spring Festival has resonated very strongly in Africa this year, gaining more popularity and proving to be another eloquent testimony to the growing cultural convergence between China and Africa, an expert in Sino-Africa affairs has said.

In a recent interview, Charles Onunaiju, director of Center for China Studies in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja, told Xinhua that the colorful activities held ahead of and at the beginning of the Chinese Spring Festival across Africa was a proof that “China and Africa have had a long and very productive cooperation.”

“We are linking up in several respects and culture is also a very important area where China and Africa have quite a lot in common, a sense of civic community, resilience, respect for tradition,” said Onunaiju.

Chinese people across the world marked the beginning of the Year of the Dog on Friday.

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, Onunaiju said.

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 (Chinese dumplings) and having the family reunion dinner on the new year’s eve.

Celebration of the Spring Festival started over a week ago in Nigeria, with a variety of China-Nigeria cultural activities being held in the capital city of Abuja.

Last Sunday, the Chinese community in Nigeria held a carnival-like celebration to mark the beginning of Chinese Lunar New Year 2018 in Abuja.

The event, organized by the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, witnessed a large turnout of Chinese citizens, local Nigerian officials and people willing to learn about the Chinese festival.

The revelers were enthralled by an exhibition of the Chinese culture and various Chinese and Nigerian art performances as well as the Chinese traditional lion and dragon dances by local people.

The Spring Festival has become a major part of the Chinese national life, according to Onunaiju, who said that it has become “universalized” and “a reminisce of China’s cultural heritage.”

“Becoming universalized is no longer a China thing. The whole world pays attention to the Spring Festival. It’s celebrated across the world. The whole world stands with China at every Spring Festival, it has literally become an international event,” Onunaiju, who has written several books on China-Africa cooperation, said.

The dog signifies “loyalty and resilience,” and this, Onunaiju said, will take China-Africa cooperation to a new high in the Year of the Dog.

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