SUVA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Thursday marks the welcoming of the Chinese New Year with 2011 being the year of the rabbit and a cause for celebration here in Fiji.
Fiji is no exception as the Chinese communities welcome the New Year with excitement and look forward to entertaining guests at their homes, visiting relatives and friends and mingling with families.
The Chinese communities in Fiji decorate their home windows and doors with red colored paper-cuts containing popular themes of " happiness", "wealth" and "longevity" not forgetting the focus on the rabbit as this is the year it is recognized to welcome the New Year in style.
Dixon Seeto, President of the Chinese Association of Fiji, on behalf of the Chinese community, is wishing everyone a New Year with long life, success and prosperity.
"I wish all the Chinese community here in Fiji a very happy and prosperous new year, wishing everybody long life and I just hope all their businesses and families do well in this new year and that they will share this new year celebrations with other races and their neighbors," he said.
Seeto told the media on Thursday that the Chinese New Year is a time to spend with family and celebrate the free gift of life, urging Fiji citizens to take time to celebrate the Chinese culture considering that Fiji is a multicultural society and rich in diversity.
Earlier, the Chinese Embassy here held a reception for the Chinese community in Fiji to celebrate the New Year of the rabbit. Chinese Ambassador Han Zhiqiang wished all Chinese in Fiji and their families a happy and prosperous new year and urged them to continue playing a great role in promoting the ties of friendship and cooperation between China and Fiji.
With the re-opening of the China Club on Sunday after the completion of its rebuilding, the Chinese community gathered together for the New Year celebrations. Helping the aged and leading the young, Chinese citizens and Fijians who have family relations with the Chinese participated in the celebration joyfully.
The Chinese community in Fiji and their descendants constitute a small but influential community in the multiracial society that makes up modern Fiji today. Their numbers are now estimated at around 8,000, or a little over half of one percent of Fiji's population that stands at more than 800,000.
They are well versed with the Fijian language spoken by the indigenous community and some have bonded with locals and accepted Christianity religion.
There are also a considerable number of Fijians who are of partial Chinese extraction, being descended from marriages between Chinese and indigenous Fijians usually in the rural farming communities in Fiji.
The main market in Suva contains many Chinese vendors who have made farming their main source of income in the island nation where they have always been appreciated by locals because of their hardworking and "mind your own business" characteristics.