By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—Federal government has been asked to unite the various ethnic and religious groups in the country through cultural integration.
The Cultural Attaché of the Chinese Embassy, Li Xuda gave the charge yesterday during the celebration of the Chinese annual Moon Festival also called the Autumn Festival.
He said Nigerians can unite together through cultural exchange and integration, especially during this period of restiveness and agitations.
He said the Chinese mark the Autumn festival because the country uses the season to reunite its citizens and sharing love and affection among one another.
With celebration of one culture, he said Nigerians would become more united and streghten the bond of their unity.
The autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese Festival that is celebrated on the 5th day of the month of the moon.
It is a festival when Chinese come together for reunion and starting in the late 18th Century.
The activity is usually organised at mid day of the autumn season.
The essence of the festival is to express gratitude, thanksgiving and to herald reunion between families, friends and loves ones by the Chinese citizens.
These activities during the festival includes: reunion dinner, eating of the moon cake, the reciting of poems and moon worship.
According to them, the moon is worshipped because it is believed that the moon is at its fullest during the season and whatever prayer that is offered or offering by the worshipers is accepted during this festival period.
In his address, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, said the celebration of the Autumn festival was significant to Nigeria because both countries had benefited a lot through cultural exchange and bilateral relationship that dated back to 1960.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe, used the occasion to solicit for more Chinese cooperation with Nigeria in the field of tourism and information exchange.
‘‘Nigeria is glad to felicitate with China in marking this festival for reunion, love and compassion, longevity on every first night of the fool moon.
‘‘It is necessary to recall that Nigeria and China relationship has witnessed giant strides from the long and outstanding relationship since 1960. This led to revenue generation, wealth creation and production.
‘‘To cap it up is the recent capacity building of training three cultural officers in conservation of cultural heritage, safe guiding internal cultural heritage and cultural creativity as well as designing in China.
‘‘We should try and unite together, take our country forward. This festival reminds me when the moon come out in the past. We were more united in the past than now. I think we should use this opportunity to send a message to our people, that there is need for us to be united no matter the differences. As we unite, the country will move forward and that by unity we stand and divided we fall,’’ she said.
The event featured: dancing, moon worship, carrying of lighted lanterns, baking and eating of moon cake. China is one country to admire as hub of creative engagement, artistry for rapid economic growth among others.