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(Benin) Thousands in Capital Enjoy Chinese Lantern Festival Celebration

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Thousands of Benin people on Saturday enjoyed the famous traditional Chinese Lantern Festival in Pahou City, southeast to the capital Cotonou. The festival is part of the eighth celebration of Chinese Spring Festival in Benin in a bid to strengthen cultural exchanges and the bilateral friendly cooperation between China and Benin.

A series of events marked the festival in the presence of the Chinese community, and all walks of life of the Benin people, including students in the Adjadji artistic and cultural center.

The events included a canoe competition endowed with price, exhibition of lanterns made by students of a dozen of college, the interpretation of Chinese songs by Confucius Institute learners and a show that gathered world class singers like the Togolese King Mensah and the Beninese Fafa Ruffino.

Lantern Festival marks the end of the Spring Festival celebrations. Traditionally, Chinese make lanterns and rice balls, which represent reunion, on Lantern Festival, the first full moon of a new lunar year, which falls on Feb. 11 this year.

Wei Jun, director of Chinese cultural center in Benin, said that the lantern festival is the closing event of the eighth celebration of the Chinese New Year in the West African country.

“It is a special opportunity to make well known one more time the diversity of the Chinese culture to people of Benin,” he said.

“Through lantern festival the Chinese embassy in Benin is presenting, to Benin friends, aspects of the Chinese culture and civilization,” he added.

He underscored this will enable a better knowledge and understanding of the Chinese culture and of the development of China.

“The Chinese cultural center in Benin has organized Chinese lantern festival as part of the momentum to make well known the Chinese culture to Benin people,” said Patrick Idohou, cultural advisor at Chinese cultural center.