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Kenya marks Chinese spring festival

Lion dancers line up before their performance at a temple in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024   -  
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Firdia Lisnawati/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


Iconic buildings and recreation spaces in the Kenyan capital Nairobi have been dazzling in red since Thursday to celebrate the arrival of Chinese Spring festival,which falls on Saturday.

The Spring Festival, or the Chinese New Year, is China's grandest traditional festival marked by family reunions. Chinese people usually host colorful activities during the holiday season to mark the New Year and pray for good luck and blessings.

Nairobi's Global Trade Centre, one of the tallest buildings in eastern Africa, held a light show on Thursday evening courtesy of the China Media Group (CMG), which holds the copyright for the production and broadcasting of the 2024 Spring Festival Gala scheduled for Chinese New Year's eve.

The mascot for China's upcoming Spring Festival Gala, "Long Chenchen", or the "dragon of Chenchen," was displayed in the light show, along with Spring festival greetings from CMG to people in Kenya.

On the same day, the Ferris Wheel "Eye of Kenya" at Two Rivers Mall, the largest shopping center in East Africa, was also illuminated in red, symbolizing the auspicious colors used for the traditional festival.

Meanwhile, a group of students from the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi staged a colorful dragon and lion dance performance nearby the ferris wheel, attracting many onlookers as they showcased the charm of traditional Chinese culture.

"The red color symbolizes the color of the Chinese. It was a very wonderful light show as you have also seen. It was very nice. I really liked it because it's nice. You can see it from afar, people from everywhere are seeing it," said one of the local residents.

"Chinese New Year for me means that we are bidding farewell to the old year and welcoming another new year with big opportunities, new chances, and it's a year that we anticipate much things to happen," said another resident.

The day also marked the first time that mascot Long Chenchen appeared in the African country. It is the first time for CMG's creative cultural products themed on the Spring Festival Gala to debut on the African continent.

The city of Nairobi will also see some other activities, including martial arts, dragon and lion dance performances and temple fairs.

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