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France celebrates Chinese New Year

31 Jan 2023, 02:44 GMT+10

© Provided by Xinhua

The traditional Chinese festival is now widely considered one of the highlights of the country's wintertime festivities.

PARIS, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- After a three-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, people across France have gathered again in recent days to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The traditional Chinese festival is now widely considered one of the highlights of the country's wintertime festivities.

In the French capital's Chinatown (13th arrondissement), the district's municipality, in coordination with local associations and businesses, has organized a series of celebrations that last from Jan. 16 to Feb. 5.

© Provided by Xinhua

The events include exhibitions of Hanfu, the traditional Chinese clothing, and of Chinese paintings, workshops for adults and children, Chinese music concerts, shows with Franco-Chinese comedians, gourmet tasting, and karaoke shows.

The highlight was the traditional Chinese New Year parade, which attracted more than 200,000 people in 2020 since its debut in the 1980s.

This year, the Mayor of the 13th arrondissement, Jerome Coumet, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo were present for the parade.

For Coumet, the Chinese New Year is a "highly anticipated" moment. It has become "a significant event for the residents of the 13th arrondissement and of all Paris to experience the meeting of cultures."

© Provided by Xinhua

Similar celebrations were also held in the French capital's other Chinese residential areas, such as Belleville in the 20th arrondissement and a smaller one in the 3rd arrondissement.

Asian businesses are no longer the only ones celebrating this holiday. For several years now, the district of Faubourg Saint-Honore (8th arrondissement) has decorated the streets with red lanterns for its own Spring Festival parade and has hosted lion and dragon dances.

On Jan. 21, when the Chinese New Year festivities began, the ever increasing number of Chinese restaurants across the French capital offered traditional dishes for good luck and best wishes in the coming year.

On the first day of the Year of the Rabbit, a parade was held on the Square of la Republique, where red and golden colors brought warmth to the freezing temperature of the Parisian winter.

© Provided by Xinhua

For Anicet, who studied Chinese for several years at the Confucius Institute of Paris Diderot, the activities were definitely not to be missed.

He was delighted with this year's rich cultural offer. "I will go to as many events as I can, just to discover," he said.

Alice and Marcel are a Franco-Chinese couple. Alice moved to France from Guangzhou 30 years ago, when she was in her twenties, and she introduced her husband to Chinese culture.

Marcel, the most Sinophile member of the family, likes to play Mahjong and decorates their apartment with Chinese objects.

In preparation for the Spring Festival, Alice and Marcel usually go to the Chinese stores in Paris to do some shopping, such as dumplings and sweet ginger, tangyuan (a traditional Chinese dessert) and Chinese New Year's lights.

© Provided by Xinhua

Philippe and his wife donned the traditional clothing Hanfu for an evening event organized on Jan. 16 by the Association Boyan, which focuses on the study of traditional Chinese culture, at the town hall of the 13th arrondissement.

They discovered Chinese culture 20 years ago through their passion for tea.

He regularly practices Tai Chi and Qigong, a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one's mental and physical health, which "help him overcome stress."

Philippe prepared dumplings, shrimp soup and stir-fried veggies for the Chinese New Year dinner. He also hosted tea tasting sessions in Paris on Jan. 21 and 28, and will host another one on Feb. 5 in Lille, northern France.

© Provided by Xinhua

Nadine, an 83-year-old retiree living in the suburbs of Paris, has never been to China. For her, "it is one more party" in the year, but it is also an opportunity to taste "dishes that we are not used to eating."

With the resumption of international travel, more and more French are wishing to visit China, and Chinese tourists in increasing numbers are planning to travel to France for their holidays.

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