The “Prelude to Lunar New Year Gala”, held in Nairobi on Wednesday, offered those who attended an opportunity to set the tone for the upcoming Lunar New Year.
More than 200 guests, including ambassadors, UN officials, members of the media, and others who have contributed to China-Africa cooperation, were treated to an afternoon filled with live performances and other dazzling displays of Chinese culture.
The Wednesday morning event also gave attendees the chance to experience and appreciate the Spring Festival, one of China’s most important festivals.
As a warm-up program, a prelude happened in New York, Nairobi, and Geneva, allowing overseas Chinese and international audiences to catch a glimpse of the charm of Chinese culture and immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere.
Shen Haixiong, President and Editor-in-chief of China Media Group (CMG), delivered the keynote address.
In his video address, he said CMG would use its multimedia platforms, which broadcast in 68 languages, to reach thousands of screens worldwide.
“We will promote a combination of ideas, art, and technology, blending outstanding traditional Chinese culture with modern civilization, creating a cultural feast on the eve of the Spring Festival with warmth and joy.”
Last year, the New Year gala was broadcast in eight locations across Africa, including Johannesburg and Nairobi. Meanwhile, gala promotional videos were displayed on 606 screens in Nairobi, attracting hundreds of viewers from around the world, especially Chinese and African audiences.
Shen further expressed the willingness of the people of China to work together with their African counterparts.
‘‘We are willing to join hands with our African friends to promote modernization and contribute greater efforts to build a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.”
In the new year, which is also China’s 75th founding anniversary, Shen added that CMG will contribute greater efforts to build a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.
This year’s event is set against the backdrop of the unanimous adoption of the Lunar New Year as a United Nations floating holiday by the United Nations General Assembly.
“This year is the first time in UN history that the Lunar New Year is henceforth recognized as part of the UN holiday calendar,” said Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Zainab Hawa Bangura.
She later went on to wish peace, joy, good health, and prosperity to all, on behalf of the UN family in Kenya.
Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Zhou Pingjian, said the fact that the holiday has now been officially listed as a UN floating holiday demonstrates values of inclusiveness and diversity, which have always been advocated by the organization. He also pointed out that the Spring Festival is celebrated in China and around the world.
“The Lunar New Year is a public holiday in almost 20 countries and is celebrated in various ways by about one-fifth of humanity. The festival has become a global cultural event, bringing people worldwide joy.”
Ambassador Pingjian also said the fact that the holiday has now been officially listed as a UN floating holiday demonstrates values of inclusiveness and diversity, which have always been advocated by the organization.
Guests and dignitaries at the colorful event were treated to live performances by students from the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute of the Lion Dance, the Chinese face-changing art, among others.
Aside from entertainment, the performances gave attendees a lively and artistic view of Sino-African relations borne from cultural exchange.
The Spring Festival is the beginning of the year based on the Lunar calendar. This year’s celebration will take place from February 10 and will be marked by many different cultures around the world.