BEIJING -- On the eve of the approaching Chinese Lunar New Year, the rest of the world is sharing the joy and excitement of the Asian country, a manifestation of the worldwide influence of China's most important festival, also known as the Spring Festival.
OCCASION FOR STRENGTHENING TIES
Some national leaders, on the festive occasion, expressed wishes for a stronger bilateral relationship.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday sent her wishes to those celebrating the festival worldwide through the government's website, pledging to further develop Britain-China relations, which have a stronger basis than ever before.
"We receive more Chinese investment than any other major European country. We've got around 150,000 Chinese students studying here and the number of Chinese tourists visiting has doubled in five years," she said.
As 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China and the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the ambassadorial relations between Britain and China, May said she hoped both countries will further their ties in various fields.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also expressed optimism over the strategic partnership between Nigeria and China, noting the two countries had reached a consensus to give full play to corresponding development strategies, strong economic complementarity, and enormous cooperative potential.
The Chinese Lunar New Year celebration emphasized the concept of family and the opportunity of reunion -- values shared by both Nigeria and China, Buhari wrote in a recent statement released by his office.
During a meeting with young Sinologists in Saint Petersburg University, the city's Vice Governor Alexander Govorunov said that Russia-China education cooperation has showed a positive trend, with 250 agreements signed between various universities of the two countries.
St. Petersburg needs to expand its knowledge regarding the Chinese language, culture, economics, law and tourism to further relations with China, Govorunov said at the meeting, which was part of a series of month-long cultural events the city hosts in celebrating the Spring Festival.
OCCASION FOR GATHERINGS
During this time of the year, Chinese embassies as well as people of Chinese origin hold various receptions and parties in their respective countries to socialize with their counterparts and friends.
Earlier this month, the Chinese Embassy in Cuba held a New Year's reception, welcoming dozens of people of Chinese descent and Cuban guests.
The Chinese Ambassador to Cuba, Chen Xi, assured that the next 12 months will be decisive for strengthening political and commercial ties between the two countries in search of bilateral prosperity, as well as the bonds of friendship that have existed for more than 50 years.
The attendees extended their wishes for good fortune to the Chinese people and the future of bilateral relations.
The Chinese embassies in the United States, Nepal, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt and Rwanda held all kinds of activities to mark the occasion, attracting members from various circles of their host countries.
President of the French National Assembly Claude Bartolone also threw a party in Paris recently to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
OCCASION FOR GALAS
China's Spring Festival provides another chance for global revelers to celebrate.
China's Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Orchestra and Shaanxi Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra performed in a concert featuring traditional Chinese music at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
The concert, which is part of the month-long cultural events in honor of the Chinese Spring Festival in St. Petersburg, proved to be a big success.
However, foreigners were no longer satisfied with being part of the audience of the festive galas, so they took to the stage instead.
What's more, over 1,000 Ghanaian students from the capital's junior high schools on Wednesday performed Chinese songs and dances to celebrate the Spring Festival.
The event, hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Ghana Basic Schools, Legon, was attended by officials from the Chinese embassy and Chinese company representatives.
During the event, students from the Confucius Institute also displayed their proficiency in spoken Chinese and knowledge of Chinese music, dance and traditional costumes.
Daria Larionova, a 21-year-old Ukrainian student, acted as a co-host of a feast entitled "The fate gathered us in Ukraine," held recently at the Boryspil International Airport in Kiev to greet the Spring Festival.
Dressed in a qipao, a body-hugging traditional Chinese dress, Larionova added to the Lunar New Year's atmosphere in the airport, which is decorated with red lanterns, Zodiac-themed paper-cuts and works of Chinese calligraphy.
"In my opinion, the most entertaining Lunar New Year custom is joint cooking and eating of dumplings. It creates a very friendly atmosphere! It is really great," Larionova said.
The Chinese Lunar New Year is the most important festival in China, and falls on Jan. 28 this year.
Source: Philippines News Agency