A colorful performance of traditional Chinese folk dance, song and acrobatics on January 19 marked the start of events to celebrate the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year.
A troupe of visiting artists from Hunan province in regional costume entertained an enthused, capacity audience at the Republic Hall in the capital of Malta, including a number of Maltese government ministers as well as the public.
This year's celebrations, organized by the Chinese embassy, are the eighth annual edition in Malta, put on for the "enhancement of cultural exchange and cooperation," Chinese ambassador Cai Jinbiao said, adding that he expects 2014 to be a year of strengthened partnership between China and Malta.
The Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year, is China's most important holiday and marked also in some 80 countries and regions internationally "to share common values and hopes for the future," said China Cultural Center director Gu Hongxing.
Chinese New Year is not a public holiday in Malta, which does not have a significant Chinese population, but does have a longstanding friendship with China since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972.
Strategically located between continental Europe (267 km) and Africa (284 km), Malta is a small archipelago in the heart of the Mediterranean, which joined the European Union in 2004.
The China Cultural Center in Malta was established in 2003.