DUBLIN, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The largest Chinese New Year Festival ever to be held in the Irish capital Dublin will be staged on Feb. 1-17, organizers announced here Tuesday.
"Over 80 programs will be held throughout the festival, making this year's festival the largest in terms of the number of its programs over its 12-year history," said Aimee Van Wylick, a producer of the festival at a press briefing.
According to the producer, a variety of activities, ranging from music concerts -- including one by Ireland's National Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with Chinese musicians, films, and traditional Chinese dances and acrobatics to Chinese food fairs and Chinese culture-related exhibitions and workshops, will be organized throughout the festival, expecting to attract tens of thousands of visitors.
As the Chinese New Year for 2019 is the Year of the Pig, many programs are related to pig topics such as a comic book workshop on Pigsy (or Zhu Bajie, a character in the ancient Chinese novel "Journey to the West"), a special pig-themed banquet at a local Chinese restaurant and a tour to Dublin City Farm, said organizers.
Moreover, a number of landmark buildings and sites in Dublin will be lit up red from Feb. 1 to 5 to mark the Chinese New Year which will fall on Feb. 5 this year, they said.
Speaking at the press briefing, Nial Ring, Lord Mayor of Dublin, said Dublin Chinese New Year Festival has been a vital platform for celebrating the strong connections that have developed between Ireland and China.
"The strong and vibrant Chinese community in Dublin has added hugely to the cosmopolitan culture of our city. It is a major source of pride to the people of Dublin that our Chinese New Year celebrations are among the biggest in Europe," he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Ireland Yue Xiaoyong, who also attended the press briefing, said the fact that the Dublin City Council has held the Chinese New Year Festival for the 12 consecutive years has demonstrated the friendship of the Irish people towards China.
He said: "2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between China and Ireland, a milestone for our friendship and a new beginning for our bilateral ties with a future brighter than ever."
In a message contained in a booklet about the festival programs, which was released at the press briefing, Irish President Michael D. Higgins said that "In Chinese culture the pig is a symbol of wealth, good fortune and prosperity." He wished all members of the Chinese community in Ireland a happy and truly prosperous new year.
"The Chinese community have played a critical role in the creation of a multicultural Ireland, where we strive to ensure that voices and needs of all our citizens are heard and respected. That is a very positive contribution from which I thank you most profoundly," he said.