YANGON, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Celebrations of the Spring Festival or Chinese Lunar New Year grandly kicked off in Chinatown of Myanmar's Yangon on Friday, the first day of Chinese calendar year of the Dog.
Organized by the local Myanmar-Chinese community, Yunnan Natives Association, the festival is being celebrated on a grand scale with the support of the regional government for the second time in decades.
"Happy New Year to all of the Chinese people in Myanmar and wish you to enjoy health, wealth and prosperity starting from the first day of new year," U Phyo Min Thein, Yangon region chief minister, said at the inaugural ceremony.
Chinese Ambassador Hong Liang expressed his beliefthat celebrations of the Spring Festival could bring people closer, and strengthen the friendship between China and Myanmar.
Lion and dragon dancers in colorful costumes and traditional performers showcased breathtaking performances along the roads in Chinatown.
As part of the celebration activities, Chinese traditional handicrafts and cultural objects as well as performance shows will be showcased Friday evening along the Maha Bandoola street, the main road of Chinatown which is being lit by more than 4,000 traditional red lanterns.
A cultural troupe from China's Yunnan province will join the night show and the local Guangdong Music Band, part of the Guangdong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will also stage a performance on the street along with the performances presented by local Myanmar-Chinese singers and dancers.
Organized by Myanmar Lion and Dragon dance federation, the 13th Chinese lion dance contest, involving about 15 lion dance groups, will be held on Saturday for four days until Feb. 20.