Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo (Front) delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of Chinese Light Festival in Kalemegdan Park in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, on Feb. 4, 2019. The Chinese Light Festival is held here from Feb. 4 to Feb. 24 to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. (Xinhua/Predrag Milosavljevic)
BELGRADE, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Year of the Pig was welcomed here Monday, with the opening of the Chinese Festival of Lights event in the Serbian capital.
The light exhibition that takes place from Feb. 4 to 24 at the historic Kalemegdan fortress in downtown Belgrade brought colorful light sculptures designed by Chinese artists and built by a well-known Chinese company from Sichuan province, depicting motives from Chinese folklore, animals, flowers and buildings.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic, Minister of Culture and Information Vladan Vukosavljevic, Belgrade Mayor Zoran Radojicic and the newly-appointed Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo.
Serbian musician and founder of the group Balkanopolis Slobodan Trkulja said at the ceremony that the manifestation will "contribute to even stronger ties between peoples of the two countries, which are connected by traditional friendship."
"Disregarding the distance between our countries, tonight here in Kalemegdan we celebrate the Chinese New Year with our brothers from China, in the same light and the same joy," Trkulja said.
Vukosavljevic reminded that the "Year of the Pig in symbolic sense is related to progress and prosperity, good opportunities and business success".
"I wish to our Chinese friends as well as to ourselves that the beautiful symbolic nature of this sign comes true in the year that has already begun for us," he said.
Chen said: "I wish Serbian and Chinese citizens enjoy the lights and welcome the new spring together. Today myself and all Chinese people that live here feel like we are in China." She concluded with a wish that China-Serbia friendship continues to "shine with amazing light" in the new year.
Brnabic reminded that this year is an important jubilee -- 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"Myself, the government of Serbia and all citizens of Serbia wish good luck and further success in all areas of development to our brotherly Chinese nation," she noted.
Hundreds of visitors toured the exhibition and enjoyed the fable-like world of joyous sculptures at Kalemegdan.
"This is very nice, and a completely new thing in Belgrade and I hope this will turn into a traditional event," said Vesna from Belgrade, wishing Chinese people good health, success, prosperity and well-being together with her grandchildren.
"This is fairy tale, and although it was a long time ago since my childhood ended, I am enjoying this like a little girl, and I cannot decide which part of the exhibition is more beautiful," said Sanja, another local citizen. "It will be remembered."
"Chinese had made this all very beautifully. I am thrilled with what I had experienced. This is very nice, professional and also warm. I wish Chinese and our people happy new year, for them to visit us often, and that we also go to China to experience its beauty," said visitor Milan Tatalovic.