BRUSSELS, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Belgian city Ghent, also capital of the East Flanders Province, held its first large-scale parade of 2018 on Saturday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Celebrating activities began in the afternoon, with overarching lights, gongs and drums, magic lion and dragon dance, as streets around Ghent's city hall were flooded with people.
"This is a very meaningful and very happy occasion. At this moment, the Spring Festival has surpassed the boundaries of the nation and has become a common holiday festival for all of us," said Tan Tianxing, Deputy Director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of China's State Council.
"We share the joy of the Chinese New Year and appreciate the beauty of Chinese songs and dances," she said.
Qu Xing, Chinese Ambassador to Belgium, said that the Sino-Belgian relations have reached a new height. "Ghent is a beautiful flower in the flourishing garden of China-Belgium friendship and cooperation. The prospect for future cooperation is promising with tremendous potential (...) we will surely make further achievements in the coming years," he said.
Gent has active ties with China. For many years the city has been in partnership with the City of Weihai and is involved in the European City network Eurocities that actively promotes EU-China cooperation.
Following the opening ceremony was a one-and-a-half-hour parade through the city center.
More than 10 floats participated in the parade, including Chinese traditional dress Cheongsam, panda phalanx, red silk dance team and the Ghent Chinese School's Yangko drum and traditional costume party team.
The parade attracted thousands of people. Many were excited by the joyful atmosphere, as they engaged with performers and took pictures with the parade team.
The Chinese communities in Belgium annually celebrated the Spring Festival, the most important holiday for Chinese worldwide. It was the third year in a row that a Chinese New Year Parade has been organized in Belgium.
The previous two editions of Chinese New Year Parade were held in the Belgian capital of Brussels.