‘Happy Chinese New Year’ global gala kicks off at Ruins of St Paul’s

2024-02-05 03:33     BY Yuki Lei    Comment:3

The 2024 Overseas “Happy Chinese New Year” Online Gala kicked off at the Ruins of St Paul’s area on Saturday.

According to a statement by the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) on Saturday, the online gala is an important cultural brand organised annually by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Beijing, the programme of which includes various promotional activities held all over the world before and after the Spring Festival, so that the tradition cherished among Chinese around the world can be better shared between, presenting a Lunar New Year cultural festival on a global scale.

As the Year of the Dragon, which begins on Saturday, coincides with the 25th anniversary of Macau’s return to the motherland, the “Happy Chinese New Year” kick-off ceremony took place for the first time in Macau, the statement pointed out.

The ceremony began at 7:30 p.m. that day, with the nation’s astronauts on the Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”) space station sending blessings via video call, the statement said.

The online gala was officially started with the lighting ceremony for the 2024 “Happy Chinese New Year” dragon mascot by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, Zheng Xincong, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR), Liu Xianfa, commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the MSAR, and Minister of Culture and Tourism Sun Yeli.

Addressing Saturday’s ceremony, Ho said in a speech that the kick-off ceremony held in Macau indicated the importance attached by the central government to Macau’s unique cultural status and Macau’s important role in the nation’s cultural communication and exchanges with the outside world, pointing out that Macau is nowadays making full use of its special advantages, proactively ensuring the construction of “a basis for exchange and cooperation characterised by the predominance of Chinese culture and the coexistence of cultures”, “vigorously” promoting the development of Macau as a “city of spectacles” and a “city of sport” and making the most of Macau’s “calling card” as a city of historical and cultural renown, so that friends from all over the world can enjoy great cultural events and enjoy a happy stay in “this wonderful place”.

The ceremony was also attended by Legislative Assembly (AL) President Kou Hoi In, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U and Director-General of the Publicity and Culture Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in MSAR Wan Sucheng, as well as other high-ranking local and mainland officials along with about 60 guests, mainland media reports pointed out.

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng (second from left); Zheng Xincong (right), director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR); Liu Xianfa (left), commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the MSAR; and Minister of Culture and Tourism Sun Yeli (second from right), officiate at Friday’s kick-off ceremony of the annual overseas “Happy Chinese New Year” online gala, in front of the Ruins of St Paul’s. The gala will be broadcast globally during the Spring Festival. – Photo: Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC)

Delivering a speech during the ceremony, Sun underlined that Macau is a historical city where East meets West, where Chinese culture is carried forward and developed, and where diverse cultures flourish, adding that as a “base for exchange and cooperation with Chinese culture as the mainstream and the coexistence of different cultures” and its role as a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, Macau “plays an increasingly important role” in promoting China’s story around the world and attracting foreign tourists to China.

Moreover, a “Happy Chinese New Year, Macau Spring” concert was held after the ceremony, in which top Chinese musicians, including world-renowned composer and conductor Tan Dun, first-class national conductor Pang Ka Pang and renowned pianist Lang Lang, performed festive musical pieces in front of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ruins of St. Paul’s, in collaboration with the Macao Orchestra (OM), Macao Chinese Orchestra, Macao Youth Choir and the Macao General Sports Association, among other local artistic and cultural organisations. The concert will be broadcast through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s official platform and various partner channels during the Spring Festival (as the Chinese New Year is formally known).

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