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Lotus Beautifies Macao

MACAO, June 24 -- Macao is more beautiful now, with lotus flowers blossoming everywhere.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the First Macao Lotus Festival was held here Sunday afternoon. In the coming 30 days, some 8,000 pots of more than 260 varieties of lotus flowers will be on display.

Many children were taking photos among the flowers in the downtown streets, showing their faces as splendid as the flower.

Lei Kam Po, a student of Macao University, told Xinhua that he likes the lotus flower because it is pure, emerging stainless from the mud, when he was painting the flower on a sheet of paper.

The festival is of great significance as lotus flower is the most symbolic component of the regional flag and emblem of the special administrative region (SAR), a local resident said.

Some people even moved their own lotus flower pots out of their homes to join the exhibition.

The SAR government will hold a series of cultural and recreational activities to further publicize the lotus culture during the festival, including art performances, a photo exhibition and a painting contest.

"We hope tourists and local residents participate in the events to make the festival more dynamic," said Jose Sales Marques, president of the Provisional Municipal Council of Macao.

All the ten major parks and squares in Macao will be dotted with the lotus flowers, he said, adding that the festival is estimated to cost 700, 000 patacas (87,500 U.S. dollars).

Acting Chief Executive of the Macao SAR Francis Tam Pak Yuen said that the festival will create a better image of Macao and promote the tourism industry, when he attended Sunday's opening ceremony.

Macao's gardening workers have been busy cultivating lotus flowers over the past few months, and a large number of gardening businesses in the inland areas of China have brought lotus roots to Macao.

During the exhibition, gardening specialists will also take the opportunity to exchange their experience in cultivating lotus flowers in an effort to ensure greater success for future lotus festivals.

Macao has deep links with lotus. The Lotus Flower Park features a lotus flower sculpture sent by the central government as a gift to Macao upon its return to the motherland. One of its two cross- straits bridges is also named "Lotus Bridge".

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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