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Flag of FranceParis Chinese New Year 2010

zodiac tigerIt is the année du tigre and although the French Chinese are a minority ethnic group in France yet the celebration of Chinese New Year is a BIG event. For a start, La Poste, the French postal service, issued a set of stamps to commemorate the année du tigre or Year of the Tiger 2010.

Apart from traditional celebrations held in the two Chinatowns in 13 arrondissement and 20 arrondissement, there was also a Chinese New Year parade on the first day of the Chinese New Year on 14 Feb 2010. This was a public event planned for everyone in Paris and held at the Paris City Hall, 3rd arrondissement, the original site of Chinatown in Paris.

The public and inclusive nature of the Chinese New Year parade is reflected in its diverse audience; tourists, local Chinese population and French from all walks of life.

Before the parade started, the crowds had already formed around the performers taking pictures and even posing with the performers. The compositions of performers were equally diverse and inclusive. They included artistes who came specially from different parts of China, the local Chinese community and even French Caucasians.

The festive explosions of the firecrackers marked the start of the parade from the city hall towards Rue de Rivoli and then Rue de Temple.

The first group moved forward holding a red banner with gold Chinese characters flanked by two impressive gold dragons and declaring “overseas Chinese as Chinese”, 华侨华人. Drifting just behind the red banner was a gold dragon from the dragon dance troupe accompanied by several lions leading the way for VIPs of the Chinese New Year parade.

After this, groups of performers moved along and performed to the cheering audiences. One of the most popular groups was performers dressed as characters from Chinese legends. It looked like Chinese legends coming to live with many familiar and popular characters moving along a street flooded with camera flashes.

The characters in the parade included Xuan Zhang the pilgrimage monk and his disciples from Journey to the West,西游记, the 3 stars of Happiness, Success, and Longevity Fu, Lu and Shou, 福禄寿, Justice Bao, 包公 and even a group of celestial fairies riding on an open top bus showering the mortal audiences with celestial flowers.

This Chinese New Year parade celebrates more then just the Chinese New Year. It is also a celebration of Sino-French friendship as seen from the many participants holding both the French and Chinese flags.

The parade also celebrates the inclusiveness nature of French society and the cross cultural interactions between the French and ethnic Chinese populations as evidenced in the number of non-Chinese French participants in the parade and in the audience that is made up of people from all walks of life.

This is one Chinese New Year parade that everyone should experience it for himself or herself.

Event date: 14 February 2010, Sunday
1st day of the 1st lunar month, year of the tiger
庚寅年正月初一

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