The Yangon government will organize Chinese New Year celebrations attended by the regional chief minister in the city’s Chinatown on Sunday, the first time the local authority has officially participated.
“To welcome the Year of the Rooster, we will celebrate in Chinatown with the full support of the divisional government,” said U Win Myint, who is the secretary of the Myanmar Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
“This is the first time ever—previously, we held the celebrations on our own,” he added.
The Year of the Rooster in the Chinese lunar calendar starts on Sunday and lasts until Feb. 15, 2018. The rooster—a symbol of fidelity and punctuality—is the 10th symbol in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac signs.
Celebrations will be held from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day (Sunday) with opening speeches by Rangoon Division Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Chinese Ambassador Mr. Hong Liang.
“The celebration aims to deepen the traditional ties between Burma and China, and to rebuild the image of Rangoon which was once a spectacular town. We also hope that the celebration will attract foreign travelers, and spur the hotel and tourism industries,” said U Win Myint.
A number of Chinese businesses and cultural organizations based in Rangoon are preparing to participate in the celebrations in Chinatown, where red paper lanterns have already been hung and lion and dragon dancers have been practicing.
At 5 a.m. on Sunday, Rangoon residents from eight wards will offer morning meals to more than 1,000 monks and nuns along Lanmadaw Street leading from the downtown area to Shwedagon Pagoda.
Over 3,000 lanterns will be lit in the streets of Chinatown. Pandals will be erected on Shwedagon Pagoda Road, Maung Khaing Street, Latha Street, and Lanmadaw Street, and they will feature performances of the dragon dance, lion dance, and other traditional dances. There will be food stalls and cultural booths as well, U Win Myint said.