Kenyans celebrate Chinese New Year festival

By Rading Gerro in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2024-02-11 15:44
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Lion dancers perform during the Nairobi Chinese New Year Gala in Nairobi, Kenya on February 10, 2024. [Photo by Wu Xiaohui/]

Thousands of Kenyans joined the Chinese community in Kenya to mark the Chinese New Year also known as Spring Festival.

The 2024 Nairobi Chinese New Year Gala cultural event took place at Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi on Saturday.

The event, organized by the Kenya Overseas Chinese Association and the Kenya Chinese Women Association, was marked by celebrations that included music, dance, cultural exhibits and drama plays.

Joyce Muoti a local businesswoman based in Nairobi, said: "This is an opportunity to get to understand the diverse and rich Chinese culture and what it has to offer to us as Kenyans. I have gone around the exhibition, tasted Chinese food and enjoyed Chinese music."

Muoti has been importing leather products from China and selling them locally.

Hasnick Omondi, a student of the Confucius Institute, at the University of Nairobi, termed the event an eye-opener to the youth in Kenya.

"The majority of the young generation in Kenya only knows China as a trading partner of our country, but they don't understand the rich Chinese culture that blends well with our own. This celebration is vital in educating this young generation about China," Omondi said.

Gao Wei, chairman of the Kenya Overseas Chinese Association pointed out that the occasion also serves to strengthen China's relations with Kenya.

"This gala will be an annual event that promotes Chinese culture among Kenyans to empower each other for economic development. We, the Chinese community living and working in Kenya appreciate the peace offered to us by the Kenyan people," says Gao.

He added that the Spring Festival signifies joy, harmony, unity, and prosperity, embodying the core values of harmony, love, and peace in Chinese culture.

Henry Rotich, chairman of Kenya –China Alumni Association highlighted the need for more cultural exchange between Kenya and China.

"What we can see here today is a great learning lesson for us, we have Chinese who have lived in Kenya for more than two decades but still maintain their culture despite being miles away from home, this is something that we Kenyans must embrace in a bid to preserve our own culture," Rotich said.

He also added that the Chinese government has continued to offer scholarships to young Kenyans.

"These scholarships have helped Kenya gain the right manpower with skills to drive our manufacturing agenda. Today we have thousands of our people in China studying in various fields."

Zainab Hawa Bangura, under-secretary-general and the director-general of the United Nations Office at Nairobi and Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian visited the gala and interacted with participants.

The Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival in China and also one of the important festivals celebrated by Chinese people worldwide. The 78th United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to designate the Lunar New Year as a United Nations holiday.

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