Chinese New Year celebrations kick off in Dublin

2021-02-09 22:35:37 GMT2021-02-10 06:35:37(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

DUBLIN, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Dublin Chinese Lunar New Year, an annual event organized by Dublin City Council since 2008, kicked off here on Tuesday, with an online evening gala providing a moment of joy and relief for local audience.

The pre-recorded hour-long evening gala, jointly organized by the People's Government of Beijing Municipality and the Chinese embassy in Ireland, was streamed simultaneously by Dublin City Council on its Dublin Chinese Lunar New Year website and the Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE on its social media platform.

The bilingual program featured a selection of traditional Chinese music, dances, martial arts and acrobatics performed by top Chinese art groups and artists in addition to an introduction of how ordinary Beijing citizens celebrate the Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, in a traditional way such as making dumplings and doing paper-cut decorations. It also featured Irish dances, music and songs performed by Irish artists.

In the program, both mayors of Beijing and Dublin as well as the Chinese ambassador to Ireland addressed the audience in a video. They wished all the Chinese community members in Ireland and Irish friends a happy, healthy and prosperous Chinese New Year, which will fall on Feb. 12.

Mayor of Beijing Chen Jining said that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Beijing and Dublin and the two capital cities have since then carried out pragmatic cooperation in many fields such as business and trade, education, culture, tourism and civil servant exchanges.

"Although COVID-19 has blocked our face-to-face meetings for quite a while, it can't stop our efforts to further communicate and cooperate with each other," he said. "We sincerely look forward to working with Dublin to deepen our exchanges and cooperation... and jointly write our new chapter of mutual benefits and win-win cooperation."

Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu said that the year of 2020 has been a "very difficult" and "unprecedented" year for everyone. "Hopefully, in the coming year, it will be better and brighter as we move into the Year of the Ox," she said.

He Xiangdong, Chinese ambassador to Ireland, said in his video speech that the past year witnessed the smooth and steady development of China-Ireland bilateral cooperation in fields of economy and trade, technology, education and culture, and the fight against the pandemic. He believed that in the new year the people of the two countries will continue to join hands in the course of fighting the pandemic and lift bilateral friendship to "a higher level."

Due to the impact of the pandemic, nearly all activities of Dublin Chinese Lunar New Year for this year will be moved online. An exception is a program called "Dublin Goes Red for Chinese New Year," under which a dozen of landmark buildings in the city will be lit up red.

Buildings going red in the city from Feb. 11 till Feb. 14 will include the Mansion House, the official residence of Lord Mayor of Dublin, and Guinness Storehouse, a factory-turned-museum where the world-famous Guinness beer was first produced.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins, in a message posted on the Dublin Chinese Lunar New Year website, sent his best wishes to all members of the Chinese community in Ireland.

He said that in the Chinese zodiac the Ox is a symbol of loyalty and industriousness and "here in Ireland the Year of the Ox also reminds us of the valuable contribution of the Chinese community to Irish society."

"2020 has been a challenging year which called on us all to work in solidarity to control the spread of COVID-19. Such a spirit of solidarity will also be essential as we work to rebuild a society rooted in a spirit of inclusion and generous humanity. Our Chinese community has always demonstrated a great spirit of active participation, and will play an important role in the crafting of such a shared future," he said.