LVIV, Ukraine, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The joint Spring Festival celebrations by Chinese and Ukrainians play a big role in cultural exchanges, a senior Ukrainian official has said.
"Thanks to the Spring Festival celebrations, we have the opportunity to explore each other's culture, and culture is the language which allows you to understand the country," Andriy Moskalenko, deputy mayor of Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, told Xinhua.
Lviv will host major Chinese Lunar New Year festivities from Feb. 15-18. It has been doing so since 2011 with 20,000-30,000 people attending each year.
Although Lviv is geographically far from China, the Spring Festival has become an integral part of the city's life, Moskalenko said.
"It has already become a good tradition to celebrate the Chinese New Year here. We have very good organizers and the number of our visitors is rising with each coming year. Dragon dances and light shows have become common in our city," he said.
More and more Chinese living in different parts of Ukraine are eager to go to Lviv for the Spring Festival, Moskalenko said.
"Last year, the number of applications to our tourist information centers from the Chinese visiting Lviv grew by more than 54 percent," he said.
The Chinese are joined by Ukrainians, who want to see the New Year celebrations not only in movies but with their own eyes.
This year, the city is expecting tourists as well as local government representatives from western and central Ukraine. "This holiday not only unites people, but also provides them an opportunity to discuss some joint economic projects," Moskalenko said.
With Lviv's Spring Festival celebrations growing popular in Europe, visitors from other European countries such as Poland, Slovakia and Hungary are also expected this year.