Dancers perform a lion dance on the square in the Royal Palace, celebrating the Chinese New Year in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Feb. 15, 2018. (Xinhua/Mao Pengfei)
PHNOM PENH, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Lion dance was performed in Cambodia on Thursday to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, which will fall on Friday.
Three lion dance troupes staged at the Royal Palace and the Chinese Embassy here.
At the palace, the troupes were welcomed by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol, while at the embassy, they were greeted by Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo.
Xiong said he felt at home when he saw the lion dance. "May the New Year bring good luck, good health and new success to the peoples of our two countries," he said.
Meanwhile, the ambassador expressed his belief that the China-Cambodia relations will be further deepened in the New Year, which is also the year that the two countries mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
Bo Reth, vice-president of the Association of Khmer-Chinese in Cambodia, said the lion dance was to celebrate the Chinese New Year and to promote Chinese culture and traditions in Cambodia.
Lion dance is usually invited by traditional Chinese families to perform as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Spring Festival and to ward off bad luck and evil spirits.
The Chinese New Year is broadly celebrated in Cambodia, even though it is not a public holiday in this Southeast Asian country.
Thai Norak Sathya, secretary of state and spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said it is estimated that more than 60 percent of the Cambodian people celebrate the festival.