A decoration in the shape of an ox is pictured ahead of the Chinese Lunar New festivities in China. Picture: Reuters
A decoration in the shape of an ox is pictured ahead of the Chinese Lunar New festivities in China. Picture: Reuters

Chinese embassy in Pretoria to usher in Year of the Ox

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Feb 12, 2021

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Pretoria - The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Chinese Spring Festival will this year be felt in South Africa as the lunar new year is celebrated with a virtual event in Pretoria set for Sunday.

The Spring Festival marks the beginning of a new lunar year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

The Spring Festival events have in previous years featured pomp and ceremony in Pretoria and a cultural explosion, particularly among the enthusiasts of Chinese cultures and tradition.

In an advisory issued in Pretoria on Thursday, the embassy of China in South Africa said the virtual gathering on Sunday will explore the “touching moments of the China-South Africa anti-pandemic co-operation”.

“Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Chen Xiaodong, and South African Minister of Tourism Honourable Kubayi-Ngubane, will deliver addresses,” said the embassy.

“We will review the touching moments of China-South Africa anti-pandemic co-operation, enjoy the fascinating natural and cultural landscapes of the two countries and the spectacular cultural performances of Chinese and South African artists, and experience the customs of the Chinese New Year.”

Unlike previous years, attendees of this year’s event have been promised a virtual treat featuring Chinese diplomats based in Pretoria.

“We will present you with the Chinese classical dance show of the African Champion for the Chinese bridge competition, the highlights of South Africa’s first online international ballet competition, the footage of the animated film co-produced by China and South Africa “Panda and Springbok” and the Chinese-style drum performance of South Africa’s female drummers,” said the embassy.

“You will also enjoy the songs and dances performed by the diplomats and children of the Chinese embassy in South Africa.”

A group of Chinese performers.

A previous Spring Festival celebration at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Dancers from China were flown in to perform for Chinese citizens based in Cape Town. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year or just referred to as “chunjie” in China, is marked by a seven-day holiday, punctuated with massive celebrations. Chinese cities during this period are dominated by iconic red lanterns, loud fireworks, massive banquets and parades. The event is also celebrated in different parts of the world.

Last year, the festivities in South Africa were attended by more than 1,400 people, including government ministers and ANC leaders. Ushering in 2020 – the Year of the Rat – the South African attendees were enthralled by traditional cultural performances of acrobatics, martial arts, fast mask-changing, and a puppet show performed by the Sichuan Art Troupe, which made a special trip from China for the occasion.

The flamboyant event was hosted by former Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian.

In 2021, the Chinese New Year festival falls on February 12. The year 2021 has been marked as the Year of the Ox, according to the Chinese zodiac, which features a 12-year cycle, with each year represented by a specific animal.

Unlike the universal New Year observed on January 1, the Chinese New Year date varies according to the Chinese lunar calendar, but it generally falls on a day between January 21 and February 20 on the Gregorian calendar.

African News Agency (ANA)

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