BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- To welcome the Year of the Dragon, a wave of festive celebrations sweeps across the globe, with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds joining in to experience the rich tapestry of Chinese Lunar New Year traditions.
Numerous iconic landmarks, from the Empire State Building in New York to the London Eye, Tokyo Tower and the Sydney Opera House, have been illuminated in vibrant red hues and decorated with Chinese elements, creating a cheerful festival ambiance to welcome the Year of the Dragon.
The Empire State Building has shined red for the 24th consecutive year. "It's an annual tradition at the Empire State Building to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the heart of New York City. Our iconic Fifth Avenue lobby windows will feature a festive art installation to honor this year's animal, the dragon," said Christina Chiu, executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the Empire State Realty Trust.
Various entertaining and cultural events were organized in France, Slovakia, Nigeria, Rwanda, the Central African Republic and elsewhere.
On Feb. 4, the Chinese community in France took center stage on the iconic Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, hosting a series of vibrant performances to herald the arrival of the Year of the Dragon. The traditional dragon and lion dances, fish lanterns and Hanfu performances attracted over 50,000 people.
"Magnificent event. It's the first time I've seen an event like this. It feels good to see colorful events like this from another culture," attendee Jean-Baptiste told Xinhua, adding that the Chinese New Year can "touch everyone."
In celebration of the traditional Chinese New Year, a concert was held on the same day in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Musicians from the Chinese Chamber Orchestra of Zhejiang Conservatory of Music presented a performance featuring traditional Chinese music.
Addressing the event, Marek Estok, the country's state secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, said that the concert "takes us through Chinese melodies into Chinese history and unique culture which has positively influenced and enriched mankind for thousands of years with its precious philosophy, literature and architecture."
The Chinese community in Nigeria held a carnival celebration featuring all kinds of Chinese folk art in the country's capital of Abuja on Feb. 3.
Hailing the festive atmosphere as "electrifying," Adeshina Adegboye, a Nigerian mechanical engineer who attended the event for the first time, said, "As you can see, this celebration clearly shows the shared joy of the Chinese and their Nigerian friends."
Confucius Institutes in Rwanda and the Central African Republic held colorful activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Students learning the Chinese language at the Confucius Institute of the University of Rwanda engaged in various activities, including a lecture introducing the Spring Festival, paper cutting, and writing Chinese characters symbolizing luck and happiness.
With the dragon symbolizing wisdom and strength, Daguia Clotaire, Central African Director of Confucius Institute of the University of Bangui, said, "That's exactly what the Chinese people are doing, working hard to develop their country." ■