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Times Square has been attracting worldwide attention on New Year's Eve for 107 years. Viewers from all around the world gather here to watch the iconic-lighted ball to descend 70 feet in 60 seconds along with a 60-second countdown. However, the New Year's Eve this year, the most significant feature was a rich Chinese flavor, the opening ceremony of the Chinese Lion encouraged by the unprecedented performance.
A lion dance performance presented by the Sino-American Friendship Association (SAFA) kicked off the countdown party at 6pm, Dec 31, 2011. New York City Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway, Chinese Deputy Consul-General in New York Zhu, Wanjin, SAFA President Peter Zhang, Deputy Commissioner of Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development Yue Wang and SAFA Executive Vice-President Li Li, participated in the eye-dotting ceremony that awakened the spirit of the Lion prior to the start of the Lion Dance.
Representatives of the New York and Beijing municipal governments raised the curtain on the ceremony by putting finishing touches to the traditional Chinese lion dance costumes. Then, the crystal balls at Times Square emitted red or yellow light which symbolized fortune and good luck in the coming year according to the Chinese cultural traditions.
SAFA expressed its hopes that the countdown ceremony with Chinese characteristics can help to promote Chinese culture, increase people's understanding of China and boost the cultural exchanges between the two countries.
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