YANGON, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- A grand lion and dragon dance performed by more than two dozen groups of Myanmar-Chinese opened up the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration here on Thursday, the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
With large traditional drums beating and colorful festive flags flying, the round-the-Chinatown procession, organized by Myanmar Lion and Dragon Dance Federation, began from the heart of Chinatown attracting thousands of spectators.
As in previous years, the marchers paid homage to the Chinatown Guangdong Guanyin (God of Mercy) Temple and Fujian Qingfu Gong Temple with on-the-spot brief performance as they passed by.
The two ancient temples of over a century represent the two largest Chinese temples in the Yangon Chinatown.
At dawn of Thursday, a total of 1,600 monks were offered alms to mark the occasion according to Buddhist culture.
Chinese Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival is being celebrated on a grand scale in Yangon's Chinatown with the support of the regional government and the celebration will be formally inaugurated on Friday morning, the first day of the Chinese Lunar Year of the Dog.
According to local Myanmar-Chinese community, Yunnan Natives Association has been set as the main event organizer involving all walks of life to stage performances in the center of the Chinatown.
During the event, Chinese traditional handicrafts and cultural objects will be showcased at booths lined up on the Maha Bandoola Street, the main road of the Chinatown which is being lit by more than 6,000 traditional red lanterns with festive decorations including some archways erected in the main junctions of the road.
A cultural troupe from China's Yunnan Province will join the night show during the festival, the association said.
Assisted by the federation, the local Guangdong Music Band, part of the Guangdong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will stage a rare performance with songs and dances to be presented by local Myanmar-Chinese singers and dancers on the first night of the new year.
Moreover, more Chinese lion and dragon dance contests, involving 17 lion dance groups and 12 dragon dance groups, will continue on Sin Oh Dan Street.