COTONOU, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The eighth edition of Benin celebration of Chinese New Year has begun in the economic capital Cotonou.
Mr. Ange N'Koue, Benin's Minister of Tourism and Culture, and the Chinese ambassador to Benin, Diao Mingsheng, jointly launched the ceremony over the weekend in the conference hall of the Chinese cultural center in the economic capital.
A fashion parade on Chinese and African clothing marked the launching ceremony, in the presence of hundreds of Benin cultural operators, students, some mayors and the enthusiastic Chinese community in Benin.
A Chinese designer and three Africans provided the garments for the parade. They are Xu Ming from China, Sonia Tohon from Benin, Joseph Adebayo from Nigeria and Gilles Comlan from Togo.
"I do not regret to have attended this fashion parade that expresses clothing-related cultural intermingling between African and Chinese people," Severin Adjovi, mayor of the historic city Ouidah said.
"As African, we know our clothing fashions. But the discovery of a part of Chinese clothing fashion has been the novelty for us this evening. It is marvelous," he also said.
Patrick Idohou, manager of the festivity, told Xinhua that Chinese Spring Festival celebration in Benin will see a series of events including an exhibition, the celebration of lantern festival, a cultural parade, a concert and a Chinese lantern making competition.
In his launching speech, the ambassador of China to Benin, Diao Mingsheng said the Chinese New year, the year of the Rooster, will commence on January 28 and will be a year of exchanges and dialogue for mutual understanding between Chinese and Benin people.
"The Chinese traditional festival brings joy to Chinese people, but through this celebration China brings joy to the people of the whole world," Diao said.
"Chinese people want to share with Benin people, for eighth consecutive year, the joy of the Spring Festival and the fruits of the 45 years of renewed bilateral cooperation between Benin and China," the Chinese diplomat also said.
N'Koue believes the Spring Festival is a window for Benin people to appreciate Chinese culture.