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Fireworks, opera and songs - Serbia celebrates Chinese New Year in style

Aljoša Milenković in Belgrade


Serbia has marked the Chinese New Year with celebrations across the country. The main event took place on Saturday in Belgrade's central district, with huge fireworks over the Sava River and an impressive light show on the town's highest skyscraper. 

The event was preceded by Chinese opera performances in the towns of Nis and Novi Sad, among several others. The audience enjoyed an unusual performance for Nis' National Theater - the Chinese Zhejiang Wu troupe performed traditional Chinese opera dances and songs.

An estimated quarter of a million people live in the city of Nis and over the years, they have had little exposure to Chinese culture. But with the help of the Chinese opera, a remarkable window has opened up for them on that. 

And that was just a prelude to a big finale in the capital, Belgrade. There, fireworks drew thousands to the banks of the Sava River, including several dignitaries who emphasized how important China is for Serbia. 

Serbian PM Ana Brnabic was there too. In her address to the people, she focused on the economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

"Through the capital infrastructure and energy projects and the increase in investments, China became one of the most important participants in our economic development," she said. "Commodity exchange between our two countries in the past three years has risen by an unbelievable 74 percent."

The Chinese community in Serbia is not large. Yet many of them came to the main event in Belgrade. They are far from their homeland, and for many, the Spring Festival can be a difficult time, spent without loved ones back home. 


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But organizers do their best to bridge that gap, as the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia, Li Ming, said.

"At this moment, the land of China is full of joy and peace, and every household is having a reunion dinner," he said. "In the company of Serbian friends, overseas Chinese and embassy staff thousands of miles away also felt the warm atmosphere of their hometown, which further confirmed that the people of China and Serbia are one family that loves each other."

This year's celebration of the Chinese New Year was described as one of the most spectacular seen in Serbia by the organizers and they promise the next one will be even better.

Fireworks, opera and songs - Serbia celebrates Chinese New Year in style

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