On January 25 2014, well over a hundred Chinese as well as a handsome number of Zambians gathered at Levy Mall to usher in the Chinese new year.The year of the wooden horse according to the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 was welcomed with dance and song.
The fair was graced by Zambia’s’ First lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba and first republican president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. Showcasing a variety of Chinese traditional performances as well as products and cuisine the show offered Zambian attendees a rare glimpse into the Asian giant’s diverse culture.
Chinese ambassador Zhou Yuxiao arrived around 09:15 while the first lady together with Dr. Kaunda joined him some 30minutes later. Amid a sea of red green and purple believed to be the lucky colours of team horse Amb. Zhou led the first Lady to the Malls inner parking lot where the stage for the celebrations was erected.
Anchored by Vincent Liu who spoke in Chinese and Wendy Wen who interpreted for non-Chinese speakers the fair opened with a dance called ‘bright star’ after both the Ambassador and the first lady gave their speeches in which they highlighted the mutual relations that exist between Zambia and China.
According to Amb. Zhou, the second Chinese Temple Fair in Zambia was intended to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, to promote cultural exchanges, to celebrate the achievements China made in 2013, to join Zambia in the celebration of the Golden Jubilee and to mark the 50th Anniversary of China and Zambia diplomatic relations which had been further strengthened by H.E. President Sata’s historical visit to China in April 2013.
Apart from Chinese performances which included Kungfu, Chinese fashion show and Tai Chi among others, Africa Directions Cultural group of Mtendere also showcased some beautiful Zambian dance performances which included infunkutu as well as akalela. It was also an opportunity for Zambians to taste Chinese food from a variety of Chinese restaurant stands such as dong fang and wolong. Zambians tasted spice crawfish at Henan Center restaurant stand.
Here are some quick facts about the Chinese Zodiac and the year of the Horse.
1) The Chinese zodiac – or Shēngxiào – is a calendar system originating in the Han dynasty (206-220BC), which names each of the years in its 12-year cycle after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, in that order. According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead.
2) People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence – foals can walk minutes after birth – and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty.