On the evening of January 14, the 2024 “Voices of Spring Golden Dreams” Cross-border Spring Festival Evening Gala & Chinese New Year Reception & the Inauguration Ceremony of the First Chinese New Year Celebrations in Nepal were held in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, presenting a cultural feast across the Himalayas.
Both located in the Himalayan region, China and Nepal have been friendly neighbors since ancient times, building a friendship across the “Roof of the World.” More than a thousand years ago, the brave and brilliant caravans opened up the ancient Tea-Horse Road along the valleys in the Himalayas and transported China’s silk, tea, and porcelain from its southwestern region to Nepal, Bhutan, and India.
Nowadays, as the Belt and Road cooperation continues to advance, China and Nepal are closer to each other thanks to the more connected infrastructure, unimpeded trade, and integrated exchange mechanisms.
“It took us just over three hours to fly directly from Kunming, China’s ‘Spring City’ in Yunnan, at the northern foot of the Himalayas, to Kathmandu, Nepal’s ‘Spring City’ on the southern slopes of the Himalayas,” said Mr. Peng Bin, Deputy Director of the Publicity Department of the Yunnan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Director of the Office of the Provincial Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress.
At an earlier meeting, the leaders of Yunnan and Nepal agreed to continue to strengthen exchanges and interactions, and constantly consolidate their long-lasting friendship against the backdrop of the fast-growing relations between China and Nepal. The geographic and cultural proximity will surely be an asset for promoting exchanges and cooperation between Yunnan and Nepal in such fields as economy and trade, tourism, health, and sister-city relations.
“Originating in China, the Spring Festival is connecting the world with the rich connotation and unique charm of Chinese culture.” Chen Song, Chinese ambassador to Nepal, said that Chinese New Year has evolved into a world festival. This year, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated in Nepal, a land known for the diversity of its Flora, through a series of colorful activities including a cross-border Spring Festival Evening Gala, a Chinese New Year Reception, a Chinese lantern exhibition, dragon and lion dance performances, a friendship soccer match between China and Nepal, and a Chinese Spring Festival temple fair. He believed that the Chinese Spring Festival and its culture would surely blossom in the land of Nepal.
Chen also said that over the past year, China and Nepal, aiming for development and prosperity, have taken their long-lasting friendship and strategic cooperative partnership to a new height. In the new year, China is willing to work with Nepal to speed up the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, the construction of the trans-Himalayan multidimensional connectivity network, and to build a closer China-Nepal community of shared future.
“Nepal and China are close neighbors, our two civilizations are connected not only by rivers and mountains but also by shared culture and people-to-people contacts. One best example of our close relationship is following of Lunar calendar and celebration of the Lunar New Year in both countries,” said the Rt Hon Prime Minister Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’. This Spring Festival event reflects the close relationship between Nepal and China and helps to further the organic and symbiotic interaction between the two countries. He believed that the Nepal-China relationship would grow stronger in the future.
The trans-Himalayan bilateral friendship could also be seen in the evening gala which was jointly presented by artists from China and Nepal. It opened with the chapter “Gather Together in the Early Spring and Pray for Blessings during the Spring Festival,” followed by two other chapters: “Spring Blossoms and Shared Beauty” to highlight cultural exchanges, and “Golden Dreams and Coexistence in Harmony and Happiness” to express new expectations.
The program included the Hani dance “Divine Bird Flapping Swings of China,” instrumental music “Golden Echoes,” Chinese dance of the Zang “Charm of the Land of the Zang,” Chinese magic “Miracle across the Himalayas,” the Lisu dance “Achimugua,” Chinese acrobatics “Drum Pedaling,” song “Long Live Friendship between China and Nepal,” Nepalese song “Resham Firiri,” and Nepalese dance “Chautariko Chheu maa Pipaluko Chhaya.” The evening gala brought together an audience of more than 700, including locals from all walks of life, overseas Chinese in Nepal, and representatives of Chinese-funded institutions.
At the event site, the Spring Festival Photo Exhibition “Yunnan: A Many-Splendored Life,” was staged. Consisting of five parts: Biodiversity, Landscapes, Culture, Festive, and Shangri-La, it displayed more than 30 selected pictures to show scenes in Yunnan. There was a traditional Chinese culture experience zone where the Nepali visitors were invited to participate in Chinese Spring Festival customs such as writing the Chinese character “Fu” (good fortune) and hanging the red lanterns.
The event was co-hosted by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nepal the Information Office and the Foreign Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province.