Chinese New Year celebrations held in 3 Finnish cities
HELSINKI, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Celebrations for the Chinese Lunar New Year were held in three Finnish cities simultaneously for the first time in history, a testament to a shared commitment to promoting cultural exchange between China and Finland.
The event, entitled "Happy Chinese New Year in Finland," was launched on Monday afternoon at the Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, with celebrations expanding from Helsinki to Vantaa and Tampere.
Guests from the Chinese Embassy in Finland, the city of Vantaa, Finnish airport operator Finavia, and the Association of Finnish Travel Industry enjoyed the performances of Chinese folk music and dragon dances at a ceremony.
Addressing the audience, Vantaa Mayor Pekka Timonen said the city is the closest place in Finland to get to China. "Vantaa is a multicultural city, and I am very happy to have a lively Chinese community in Vantaa. Today, the tenth most spoken language in Vantaa is Chinese."
Welcoming the event, Timonen said this is also one of the important festivals for many Vantaa citizens. "Dragon is a symbol of wisdom and strength. I hope that the Year of the Dragon will also bring good luck to Vantaa City," he said.
Noting that flights from Helsinki Airport have connected Finland with China since 1988, Finavia's Senior Vice President Petri Vuori said they are "honored" to launch the festive event here.
The "Happy Chinese New Year in Finland" activities are jointly organized by the Chinese Embassy in Finland and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, in cooperation with the Chinese Enterprises Association in Finland and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association in Finland.
Emphasizing that cultural exchange is vital to China-Finland relations, Chinese Ambassador to Finland Wang Tongqing said through joint efforts and cultural interaction in various forms, the countries can promote cultural exchanges and people-to-people bonds.
Juha Ahonen, executive director of the cultural and leisure service of the city of Helsinki, extended best wishes to everyone on behalf of the capital.
He said that the joyful atmosphere of the Chinese New Year always brings delight and warmth to winters in Helsinki. With rich traditions, the Chinese culture has significantly contributed to the diversity of the culture in the city, he added.
As part of the event, works from the 2024 Global Zodiac Design Competition themed on the Chinese dragon, and photos from the "Hello, Beijing" photography contest, will be on display at the Helsinki Airport till the end of February.