Millions around the globe ushered in the Chinese New Year of the Rat on Saturday January 25th amid threat of coronavirus. The ongoing celebrations will last for 15 days, except in China where celebrations were cancelled, and streets left deserted with 56 million people on lockdown due to the outbreak. Suffice it to say that fear of the deadly coronavirus could have ruined the “Happiest Day” for millions of Chinese.

Major tourist destinations announced emergency closures and restaurant reservations were unfortunately, being cancelled. Large gatherings and travels that are common with the holiday were banned in the affected cities. Hong Kong has closed all its schools for two weeks, and Wuhan has reportedly banned the use of cars in downtown areas. Hong Kong has also tightened border with Mainland.

Elsewhere, the Festival of Good Fortunes Continues

Celebrations are ongoing in various parts of the world with foodies and performances to mark Chinese grandest festival. Participants unite with families and friends, exchange gifts of good fortune, and toast to abundance. It is the year of the rat, the first of the 12 zodiac signs in the Chinese calendar. Celebrations by Chinese communities have been ongoing in Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, Los Angeles, New Zealand, Indonesia, London, Philippines, etc.

Dancers perform the traditional Chinese Lion Dance during celebrations in the Chinatown District of Manila, Philippines (Photo: EPA)

A Lion Dance during celebrations in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Celebrations in New Zealand

In New Zealand there have been performances all over the major cities. If food were to be remedy or vaccine for all sickness, threat of corona virus would have been neutralised after all we ate on New Year Day. At China Town in Palmy City, we had an assortment of supper cuisines. For me, I had all the supper bites, supper sips and a take-home to spread the good feed. It sounds yum, I know, but beyond the foodies were lots of fun, networking, entertainment, gifting and all what not.

Lots of families during the Chinese New Year Dinner at China Town, Palmy City, New Zealand on January 25 (Photo: GegeNews)

Tonight, at the Regent Theatre, Palmy City, spectators were thrilled with the best of Chinese traditional shows. Performances were mostly done by Chongqing Liangjiang Art Troupe. We had the Dazzling Dance, Night Rain in Ba Mountain Dance, Customs of Tujia Minority and Spring in Liyuan Dance. Others were High Mountains and Flowing Water Dance, Auspicious Ode Dance, Face-changing Sichuan Opera Arts, magic show, acrobatics and magic. Soloist, Ma Jun performed the Galloping Horse – Ripe Grapes and The Sun Rose Over the Grassland – Love to Three Gorges.

Sichuan Opera Face-changing Arts performed by Peng Guanghui at the Regent Theatre, Palmy City, January 29 during the “Happy Chinese New Year” Show. (Photo: GegeNews)

Auspicious Ode Dance by Chongqing Liangjiang Art Troupe at the Regent Theatre, Palmy City, January 29 during the “Happy Chinese New Year” Show. (Photo: GegeNews)

Award-winning Spring in Liyuan Dance performed by Chongqing Liangjiang Art Troupe during the January 29 Happy Chinese New Year Show at the Regent Theatre, Palmy City. (Photo: GegeNews)

The “Happy Chinese New Year” Showcase was organised by China Cultural Centre in Wellington, Chongqing Municipal Commission of Culture and Tourism Development, and Chinese Association Manawatu Branch Inc. In his speech, the Mayor of Palmerston North City, Grant Smith, highlighted the positive impact of the strong relationship between New Zealand and China. He noted that despite the threat of the coronavirus, Chinese have remained strong, and the government stands with China in this trying period.

Sources: axios.com, Aljazeera.com and Dailymail.co.uk

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