Barbados has joined in the celebration of the Chinese New Year, as Bridgetown prepares to observe 40 years of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in May.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2017 is the year of the rooster, which represents many characteristics of the Chinese people including bravery, punctuality and intelligence.
Ambassador of The People’s Republic of China to Barbados Wang Ke likened the Chinese festivities to that of the Crop Over festival here, saying it was a time for Chinese to engage in a myriad of activities in “a joyous and extravagant way”.
“Of course in the modern time we have many more new activities, like a huge New Year shopping, and families get together and enjoy the spring festival gala on our China central television,” she added.
Wang Ke was speaking at the Chinese culture night reception at the Chinese Embassy last night, as she welcomed guests and urged them to join in the activities that will take place in Barbados to mark the special occasion.
She also promised new elements to this year’s Fish and Dragon Festival which is being held today.
“The celebrations serve as a bridge of friendship. Where there [are] the Chinese people there [are] happy Chinese celebrations. The joy and happiness of these festivities are spread all over the world,” said Wang Ke.
Last year the Chinese New Year was celebrated in over 400 cities across in over 140 countries.
The embassy of the People’s Republic of China embassy is today hosting the third annual Fish and Dragon Festival at the Church Village Green, Central Bank complex.
This event, which is being held in collaboration with the Central Bank of Barbados, will give Bajans a taste of authentic Chinese culture including food and art, performances and workshops, fused with local cultural performances.
Last night’s prelude saw specially invited guests being given a taste of what is to come by both countries, as they sampled a range of Chinese delicacies and beverages and enjoyed the performance of a Mother Sally and Tuk Band.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean described the relationship between the two countries over the past four decades as vibrant and dynamic.
She pointed to agreements signed between Bridgetown and Beijing for economic and technical cooperation in the areas of education and agriculture, as well as the recent signing of a protocol for military aid to Barbados, saying “the Government of Barbados is very grateful to Government of The People’s Republic of China” in those areas.
McClean also highlighted the fact that a group of Chinese nurses and doctors started working in specialized areas at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last December.
“We thank you Ambassador for this especially as we are currently marking the year of productivity and the health of our people especially our workers, have an effect on the nation’s productivity,” said McClean, who also pointed to Chinese involvement in the refurbishment of the gymnasium and the redevelopment of Sam Lord’s Castle.
Meanwhile, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr DeLisle Worrell said Barbados was proud to be one of the earliest countries in the Western Hemisphere to officially recognise the People’s Republic of China.
“Today, quite incredibly, it is China to whom we look for leadership in global strategies of international economic cooperation, strategies that, let us not forget, have brought the world to a new and unprecedented level of prosperity,” he said.
“We are intent on deepening our mutual understanding, learning more about China and providing opportunities for China to get to know us better,” Dr Worrell said.