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Dublin city kicks off Chinese New Year celebrations

Updated: 2020-02-01 14:04:32

( Xinhua )

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A group of children sing at the opening ceremony of Dublin Chinese New Year Festival in Dublin, Ireland, Jan. 23, 2020. Dublin Chinese New Year Festival, an annual event organized by Dublin City Council. [Xinhua]

DUBLIN -- Dublin Chinese New Year Festival, an annual event organized by Dublin City Council, opened here on the night of Jan 23.

Hundreds of guests from various walks of life were entertained with traditional Chinese lion dances, songs, piano performance, aerial dance, and tasty Chinese snacks at the opening ceremony held in a red lantern-decorated building of Victorian era in downtown Dublin.

Addressing the event, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland He Xiangdong said the year 2020 is the Year of the Rat and the rat is the first zodiac animal, which symbolizes a new beginning.

"China and Ireland have made continued progress in our bilateral relations ... In the new year ahead, with our two countries continuing to join hands in the spirit of consultation, contribution and shared benefits, I have no doubt that our relations will enjoy a new beginning with a future brighter than ever," he said.

First organized by Dublin City Council in 2008, the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival has run for the 13th consecutive year, making it one of the largest celebrations of its kind in Europe, said Deputy Mayor of Dublin Tom Brabazon, adding that in 2019 more than 25,000 people attended the festival.

Chinese New Year is a perfect opportunity to recognize the considerable contributions of Chinese people in Ireland, he said in his speech. "I have no doubt that we will continue to see members of the Chinese community play valuable roles in shaping our society."

Dublin City Council Chief Executive Owen P. Keegan said that the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival is a "fantastic platform to further Sino-Irish relations, to embrace key values shared by our two nations and to celebrate our differences through cultural exchange."

During the 19-day festival, a number of music concerts, film and photo exhibitions, lectures on ancient and modern China, and family friendly events will be held to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 25.

Highlights of the festivities include lighting up landmark buildings across the city in Chinese festive red color, a two-day Spring Festival fair, and a Spring Festival gala at Convention Center Dublin.

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