CULTURE: Chinese, Zimbabweans step into Year of the Dragon with colourful gala

Tichaona Zindoga

Nearly 3000 people gathered to welcome the Chinese Lunar Year at the Celebration Centre in the capital on Thursday.

The near-capacity crowd, which included Chinese families, businesspeople, diplomats and Zimbabwe Government officials and ordinary people were treated to a variety of entertainment performances such as martial arts, magic, musical and instrumental and opera performances showcasing rich Chinese culture and intangible heritage.

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Kirsty Coventry was the honoured guest, as Ambassador Zhou Ding rolled the red carpet to welcome the Year of the Dragon.

It was one of the largest gatherings for a Chinese event in Zimbabwe, and the celebratory atmosphere underscored the growing friendships and people-to-people ties between the two countries.

A packed crowd of Chinese people, the diplomatic community and Zimbabweans welcomed the Year of the Dragon, also known as the Year of the Loong in the capital, Harare

Coventry said: “(The) Celebration of the Chinese New Year provides our people with an opportunity to further enhance friendship and cooperation.

“It is through interactions such as these we are witnessing today, that we are able to deepen our understanding of each other’s cultures, traditions and values and in the process stir the development of our two nations.”

She noted that the event was the pride of the Chinese people in the celebration of their culture, which is marked at a global scale.

The minister also praised Zimbabwe-China economic cooperation which is growing in leaps and bounds in the context of the comprehensive strategic cooperation.


ABOVE: Visuals of some of the performances by Chinese acts during the cultural gala to mark the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year

Ambassador Zhou explained that the cultural set pieces showcased represented a “small window for you to the magnificent world of Chinese art and culture”.

He pledged more cooperation with Zimbabwe in the fields of education and economy.

“I wish you all to realise your dreams in the future and contribute to the peace and prosperity of Zimbabwe and the whole world. The future belongs to you.”

The Year of the Dragon, also known in China as the Year of the Loong, has a lot of significance to Chinese people, and celebrated as tradition that has endured centuries.

According to one authoritative article, in Chinese culture, loong are revered as symbols of power, excellence, and good luck, and they are often depicted as wise and kind creatures.

The loong (dragon) has been a central motif in Chinese culture for thousands of years, and its origins can be traced back to early Chinese civilization through mythology, folklore and religious beliefs.

Since loong were believed to have control over natural phenomena such as rain, storms and water, and were associated with the life-giving properties of water and the fertility of the land, loong became symbols of strength and good fortune, and they became associated with balance, harmony and the natural order of the universe.

Representing auspiciousness, vitality and the power of nature, loong remain a revered and beloved symbol in Chinese society, reflecting the enduring significance of historical traditions in modern China.

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