Chao Xiaoliang, the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, on Wednesday said thousands of Chinese were leaving Nigeria for the Chinese New Year celebration.
Chao told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, was an official public holiday for all Chinese nationals to reunite.
According to him, the Chinese New Year is a memorable celebration that any Chinese, irrespective of location and engagement, cannot afford to miss.
Chao said: “Already, many Chinese in Nigeria, like all other Chinese all over the world, have started leaving Nigeria for their different places in China for the 2017 Chinese New Year.
“For the past 3,000 years, Chinese nationals, wherever they are, are expected to return home to celebrate this enjoyable New Year with their families and friends.
“It is a period for all Chinese to celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest, relax with family, as well as wish for a lucky and prosperous New Year.”
Chao also said that some Chinese business owners, who wanted to use the New Year Celebration to celebrate their business successes with their Chinese employees in Nigeria, had started arriving.
The Envoy said that the celebration would usually commence with the decoration of all Chinese street and buildings with red, as the red colour were the main New Year Celebration colour.
Chao also said that it was common practice during the celebration, to see red lanterns hung in streets and red couplets pasted on doors, as symbols of the year’s prosperity.
He said that the celebration would include the families’ New Year Eve dinner, known as Reunion Dinner, the presentation of red envelopes with money as gifts, the setting off fireworks, wearing of new clothes.
Chao said: “Let me say that this period is really a period for us Chinese to enjoy ourselves because we have been working all through the year.
“Every Chinese, whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or other religious believers, must usually create time to reunite with their families and friends during the New Year celebration.”
The consul-general, who recalled with nostalgia how his father on this occasion used to give him and his siblings money in red envelopes, congratulated Chinese nationals in Nigeria for the celebration.
Chao also congratulated Nigerians for making it into this year, adding that Nigerians and Chinese nationals would continue to strengthen cultural relations between them in the New Year.