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Costa Rica's Chinatown greets Chinese New Year with traditional performances

SAN JOSE, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- In the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, people in Chinatown greet the Chinese Lunar New Year of Monkey with a traditional lion dance, as well as acrobatics and kung fu performances during the Spring Festival celebrations.

"The Spring Festival is a great event that generates harmony and happiness," Song Yanbin, China's ambassador to Costa Rica, said on Friday when the festival started here.

San Jose's municipal band got the festivities underway, followed by a Chinese-style acrobatics show and a lion dance, in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a special costume.

The bi-cultural event also featured Central American music before the celebration concluded with a kung fu show by performers from Costa Rica's Shaolin Kung Fu School.

"Whether at home or travelling as visitors, north of the Yellow River or south of the Yangtze River in China, by children or the elderly, in China or anywhere with a Chinese community, we celebrate this festival with great joy and cheer," said Song.

Over the three-week celebrations in February, the local Chinese community will also set up stands where visitors can learn how to make Chinese knots, write Chinese characters and learn about ancient customs during the Spring Festival.

Since the two countries established formal ties in 2007, the Chinese people and government have often expressed solidarity with their Costa Rican counterparts, said San Jose Mayor Sandra Garcia.

President of the National Legislative Assembly Rafael Ortiz said in a message that China has throughout the ages had an extraordinary impact on humankind, through its discoveries, its social and economic development, architecture, art and rich cultural heritage.

Monkey, one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, is known for being active and agile, and is therefore considered a sign of change and progress, said Isabel Yung, president of the Association of Costa Rica's Chinese Community.

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