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Festival gaining popularity overseas
Latest Updated by 2006-01-26 11:01:05
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SPRING Festival celebrations are being seen in more and more places outside China, as made-in-China products and Chinese businessmen and travelers make their way into an increasingly larger part of the globe.

An unprecedented three months of celebrations are being held to mark the Year of the Dog in London, which is home to the largest number of overseas Chinese in Europe.

In the German capital of Berlin, Spring Festival greeting cards printed with Chinese characters can be seen in stores. Contents about the festival have also been included in primary school textbooks.

The United States Postal Service this year began increasing the circulation of stamps with images of the 12 animals represented in the Chinese lunar calendar, a practice that began in 1992.

To welcome the Year of the Dog, Australian authorities have issued commemorative gold and silver coins featuring a dog.

A wide range of cultural events aimed at celebrating the festival are also being staged in almost every continent, from Switzerland to Canada, from Brazil to Australia, and from Iceland to India, either organized by groups of overseas Chinese, or Chinese and foreign government agencies.

A lot of foreign leaders are using the occasion to send greetings to Chinese expatriates living in their countries.

Earlier this month, U.S. President George W. Bush sent his Spring Festival greetings to Asian-Americans, who will celebrate the occasion on Jan. 29.

"Men and women of Asian descent mark the lunar New Year with a spirit of renewal and hope," he said.

In a message addressed to a Chinese association in London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "I am delighted to send my best wishes to the Chinese community for the New Year and to wish everyone happiness in the forthcoming Year of the Dog."

The celebrations, Blair said, now reach out well beyond the Chinese community and are shared and enjoyed by people from all backgrounds.

"The festival gives us all the chance both to reflect on the great contribution of the Chinese community to this country's success, prosperity and culture and how we all gain from the diversity of our society," the British prime minister said in the message.

There are about 200,000 Chinese working or studying in Britain and a lot more people of Chinese origin living in the country.

The leaders of New Zealand and Malaysia also sent their festival congratulations to local Chinese communities earlier this month. Helen Clark, New Zealand's prime minister, joined local Chinese at a Spring Festival party in Auckland on Jan. 21.

The Web site of Xinhua News Agency said yesterday that the Spring Festival is being "globalized" because of rapid economic growth and the rising international status of China.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: Szdaily web edition
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