By John Okeke
Every year Chinese people celebrate Lunar new year around the world . This celebration marks the beginning of their new year as was the case of Nigeria and other countries of the world who usually celebrate new year on 1st January every year.
However, Abuja residents were not left out as they joined Chinese community in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to celebrate the Spring Festival observed by the Chinese people.
The event which took place at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Wuse Zone 5 attracted the Chinese community in Nigeria, members of the diplomatic corps and their Nigerian friends.
It was a scenic display of the rich cultural endowments of China and Nigeria; with school children from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) performing arts of the two cultures.
To make the merriment full, guests were also treated to some dose of delicious Chinese food, in addition to a different games displayed by both Chinese and friends.
A cheerful audience were held spellbound as they 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 peoples of the two 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.
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 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.
Speaking during the event, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Zhou Pingjian said 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 Chairman , House Committee on Foreign Affairs , Hon Yusuf Yakubu said there are obvious similarities between Nigeria and the Chinese culture even the duo’s independent celebration.
The law maker said over 7000(seven) thousand Nigerians are currently in different scholarship program in china.
“The industrial revolution in China is already in Nigeria as more of china industries are already resident here, creating more job opportunities, industrializing the community, and cutting the entire production cost,” he said.
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.