Chinese in Rwanda usher in “year of the pig”

H.E. Ambassador of China to Rwanda RAO Hongwei, and the Minister for Sports and Culture, Nyirasafari Espérance, Performers and officials pose for a group picture after the celebrations. / Emmanuel Kwizera

Members of the Chinese community living in Rwanda on Monday marked their new year in style.

In an event held at Kigali Convention Centre, the Chinese community and their Rwandan counterparts came together to mark the Chinese “year of the pig".

This is as per the Chinese calendar which has a zodiac of twelve animals.

Chinese dancers performs at the Kigali Convention Centre. / Emmanuel Kwizera

Urukerereza during the performance. / Emmanuel Kwizera

The Chinese New Year also known as the spring festival is a festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.

It always falls on February 15 although in Rwanda, they decided to mark it earlier.

Acrobatic troupes from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China performed different dances, arts and music.

"I know Rwandan people are quiet familiar with Inner Mongolia. Because since 1982, Inner Mongolia Autonomous region has dispatched 19 medical teams with a total staff around 200 to Rwanda, providing treatment for some 500,000 patients here," said Rao Hongwei the Chinese ambassador to Rwanda.

Chinese entertains guests during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Kigali. / Emmanuel Kwizera

Chinese entertains guests during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Kigali. / Emmanuel Kwizera

Located in the north of China, Inner Mongolia Autonomous is the first provincial region to be governed by ethnic groups.

It is the home to ethnic minorities such as Mongolians, the Manchu, Hui and Koreans.

Inner Mongolia boasts of lush green pastures as China's dairy centre and rich cultural heritage, particularly the Mongolian.

Also on hand to entertain the guests were members of the Rwandan National Ballet, who also performed different songs and dances.

This year was the fourth consecutive time, the Chinese New Year gala was being celebrated in Rwanda, according to officials.

According to Rao, the event is part of a joint effort by both countries to push forward the implementation program under the Agreement of the Cultural and Science Cooperation between China and Rwanda, which was signed during Chinese President XI Jinping’s visit to Rwanda last July.

"With more people-to-people exchanges, we will build a China-Rwanda community with a shared future," he said.

The envoy also explained that in Chinese culture the Pig symbolizes honesty, modesty and luck.