Members of the Chinese community in Fiji turned up in numbers at the Suva Civic Centre yesterday to mark the start of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rat.
Some made the journey from the Western Division overnight so they could make it to the start of the morning programme where Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was the chief guest.
Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, Qian Bo was also a guest of honour.
Three lions welcomed the guests on the stage and the formalities were followed by extravagant performances by artists from China.
These artists wooed the crowd with their dance, acrobatic feats and music.
Chinese Association of Fiji president Jenny Seeto said the Chinese New Year was a significant event for Chinese in Fiji and globally.
“The Year of the Rat is the first of the 12 animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac. It signifies new beginnings,” she said.
Ms Seeto said the Chinese New Year was celebrated on January 25, but they decided to have the event yesterday to mark a family day.
She said the celebrations would be taken to the streets with planned performances on the streets of Suva.
The Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, Mr Qian said Fiji and China had so many similarities.
He said both nations were looking at economic and social prosperity and these were only made possible by the visionary leadership of the two nations.
He said China was always a friend to Fiji and there was more assistance for Fiji under China’s Belt and Road initiative.
He added the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70 years of founding last year and wished Fijians all the best as they prepared to celebrate their 50 years of independence.