Press release

Local Chinese community welcomes New Year

February 19, 2007

The local Chinese community gathered at the Plantation Resort & Casino on Saturday night to welcome their New Year, the year 4705, labeled as the Year of the Pig which began at midnight on January 18.

Considered as the longest and most important celebration on the Chinese calendar, the New Year arrived while the local Chinese community was still basking in the afterglow of the visit here of China’s President, Hu Jintao from February 9 to 10.

The party-like celebration on Saturday night took place in a spirited ambience in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador to Seychelles, H.E. Geng Wenbing, the Minister for Education Bernard Shamlaye, and the chairperson of the Chinese Association of Seychelles, France Sham Peng Tong.

After briefly addressing the gathering, mainly in Cantonese, Ambassador Wenbing and Mr Sham Peng Tong exchanged gifts with Minister Shamlaye, as a sign of friendship and goodwill between Seychelles and China and the local Chinese community.

Minister Shamlaye seized the occasion to welcome the arrival here soon of some Chinese language teachers, as part of an agreement signed between Seychelles and China during President Hu’s visit. He said that this endeavour will better facilitate understanding between the two peoples.

Also speaking at the celebration, the vice-chairperson of the Chinese Association of Seychelles, Gerard Ah-Shung, gave a detailed explanation of the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig in particular.

He said that the New Year starts on the new moon closest to spring and ends on the full moon 15 days later.

He said that “the very ancient tradition dates back to 2600 BC, and that legend has it that Buddha asked all animals to meet him on Chinese New Year back then, and as only twelve showed up, he named a year after each one”.

People born in each year would have some personality of that animal the year represents, according to the belief.

After the speeches, those present were able to partake in a buffet dinner especially prepared for the occasion.