In a special occasion, Tirana started the celebrations of the Chinese New Year for the first time since the establishment of a friendship between Albania and China.

2019 also corresponds to the 70th Anniversary of those Relations

The Chinese New Year 2019 started on February 5, traditionally preparations should start ahead from that day, for this year beginning since January 28. The New Year lasts until the new full moon, which will be on February 19.

The New Year is enclosed by the traditional Lantern Festival, which symbolises unions, and is a time of socialising and freedom.

The Chinese New Year is known as the Spring Festival and celebrates a new beginning. In the long celebrations, each day has different specific activities and traditions to celebrate, with its own superstitions. The Spring Festival is a period reserved to families, likewise in Albania. There is the reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, visits to in-laws on the second day and neighbours after that.

Hundreds of people crowded the Skanderbeg square in Tirana on, Albanians, tourists, and Chinese citizens that live and work in Tirana. The New Year celebration was hosted by the Municipality of Tirana in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy. Both Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj and the Chinese Ambassador Zhou Ding gave their greetings to the event participants.

There is an estimated 300 Chinese citizens living in Tirana conducting their activities. Veliaj said that Albania has had around 20 thousand Chinese tourists visiting Albania this past year. This has incited an opening of Chinese language courses and students learning the language so they can provide tour guides for the tourists.

Albania is also part of the One Belt, One Road initiative undertaken by the President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, he calls it;

“a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future,”

And it seeks to connect countries from Asia, Europe and Africa through maritime or ground in a series of infrastructure development and other economic investments.

In the framework of this initiative, the Chinese Embassy is going to assist the municipality of Tirana in the urban infrastructure of the city. A co-financing project to renovate the park and inter-city bus station behind the Palace of Culture at the centre of Tirana is being undertaken.

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Tirana will be closing the Chinese New Year with the traditional Lantern Festival. Mayor Veliaj said that the Square will be organising a multitude of activities, both to celebrate the national holidays of the 100 nationalities that Tirana houses, but also the local ones. It is uncertain what is the next activity that the municipality will host on the square.

“Dear friends, this place today is showing the world an open, inclusive and hospitable Tirana, and we will also see the view of a beautiful Tirana as an international metropolis, where multi-cultures coexist.

The Chinese Embassy can’t wait to have more collaborations with Tirana, to present the beauty and vitality of the city more powerfully, the land of eagles – Albania.

Happy New Year Tirana!,” said Ambassador Zhao Ding.