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Remarks by H.E. Song Yumin at the Spring Festival Gala at UWI

Professor Reddock,Deputy Principal of University of West Indies, St Augustine Campus,

Dr. Beverly-Anne Carter, Local Director of the Confucius Institute ,

Dr. Tang Jianhua, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute,

Special invited guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening!

      Thank you for your kind invitation, I'm honoured and privileged to join you in the celebration here. Lunar New Year in China is the most important festival, similar to the importance of Christmas to westerners. Traditionally, the celebrations of the festival run from the evening preceding the first day to the 15th day of the first month, ending up with another festival-Lantern Festival. Today is the eighth day of the New Year, although most people are back to work in China, the spirit of the festival is still high. Taking this opportunity, I'd like to extend to you on behalf of the Chinese embassy the season's greetings and best wishes. May the year of Rooster bring prosperity, good health, joy and happiness to you all throughout the year.

      Over past thousands of years, Lunar New Year festivities have formed an important component of Chinese culture, so rich in legends, folk religion, folk customs, literature and arts. The custom of pasting red paper cuts and door couplets, setting fireworks, giving children red envelopes and eating dumplings are some of the ostensible epitomes of the festival traditions. The celebration CI hosts tonight provides an opportunity for students and people in TT to share with Chinese people their joy and happiness and to better understand Chinese culture.

      This has been the third Chinese New Year celebration by CI since it was established in 2013. In the past 3 years since it came into being, CI has played an important role in promoting cultural exchanges between our two countries and fostering friendship between our two peoples. I owe my thanks to CI, to both local and Chinese directors, teachers and students for your great efforts. I'd like to thank Professor Reddock for her generous support to CI.

      Lunar New Year is called Spring Festival. It is also a celebration of the coming of spring. Following long snow-covered winter in Northern part of China, Spring brings hope. As a Chinese proverb goes, the whole year's plan depends on the good start in Spring. After New Year celebration people will really get down to hard work as we Chinese believe the best practice is diligence. Once again, I extend my New Year blessings to you all. May the New Year bring you new hope, good luck, well-being and happiness. Wish you enjoy your time tonight.

      Thank you!



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