By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Chinese Ambassador to Mexico Xia Xiaoqi hosted an early Chinese New Year festival at his Colonia Pedregal residence on Saturday, Feb. 2.
The event, which was cohosted by the Chinese Embassy, the Chinese Cultural Center and China Southern Airlines, was attended by Mexican Interior (SeGob) Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero, Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Márquez and Senate President Martí Batres Guadarrama, along with a hefty representation of other federal officials and members of the foreign diplomatic corps in Mexico.
The festival’s itinerary included a performance of traditional Chinese dance and music, as well as a buffet of Chinese delicacies, a colorful dragon dance and Ambassador Xia personally creating hand-painted calligraphic banners welcoming in the Year of the Pig for his guests to hand on their doorposts..
It also served as a platform for Xia to talk about the close bilateral ties between China and Mexico.
“In 2018, two-way trade between our countries increased by 23 percent,” the ambassador told his guests at the start of the festival.
“And that trade also became much more diversified and balanced.”
Last year, combined Sino-Mexican trade between amounted to $80.8 billion, according to Mexican government figures, making China Mexico’s second-largest import partner and fourth-largest export market.
Chinese companies also have more than $4 billion in investment projects in Mexico, most of which were launched over the course of the last four years.
In addition to increased commercial and economic cooperation, Xia said that Chinese and Mexico are also increasing cooperation in the political and social fields.
At the same time, Xia spoke about his government’s “peaceful expansionism” through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a development strategy adopted by Beijing the focuses on infrastructure development and investments across Europe, Asia and Africa, noting that the massive project provides benefits for all participants.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, marks the start of the Chinese calendar, and 2019 is designated as the Year of the Pig.
The last animal in the pageant of 12 calendar years, the pig is generally associated with wealth and happiness, and for that reason the year is considered a good time to cash in on commercial and economic opportunities.
Also called the Spring Festival, the New Year celebration is the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, incorporating elements of both the lunar and solar calendars.
Believed to be the oldest chronological record in history, dating from about 2,600 B.C., when then-Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac, the Chinese calendar has 12 cyclical symbols associated with animals.
A complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each.