Massive Chinese New Year parade in...Paris?
Saturday, January 17, 2004

GONG XI FA CAI! Here's an interesting bit of Chinese New Year news out of Paris.


PARIS, Jan. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- More than 7,500 performers, 54 decorated vehicles and 12 giant totems will bring a Chinese traditional parade on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in the heart of Paris on January 24 to mark the Chinese New Year, the Paris City Hall announced Thursday.

It is the first time that Paris opens one of its most famous landmark places -- the 1,200-meter long Champs-Elysees Avenue fromthe Arc of Triumph to the Round Point -- to a parade dedicated to a foreign culture.

The event is to mark the opening of the festival of Paris-Beijing Week, which comes in the framework of the Year of Chinese Culture in France inaugurated in October.

Some 1,000 artists from China will join the three-hour parade with various performances, including dragon and lion dance, red fan dance, drum music, Beijing opera, bicycle acrobatic show, martial arts and puppet show.

Groups of vehicles will be sumptuously decorated and a group ofartists will march in the opposite direction, dancing with kites, balloons and a 50-meter long dragon.

And 12 totems symbolizing the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac will also decorate the Champs-Elysees Avenue.

"The decorated vehicles have been transported into Paris for assemblage and the performers are doing their final repetitions," Li Jicheng, chief organizer in charge of the parade from the municipality of Beijing, told Xinhua.

Some 45 Chinese associations in Paris, which has a Chinese community of about 40,000, contributed to this exceptional parade,with an estimated costs of about 480,000 euros (about 650,000 dollars).

"We are glad to host the event, which will help the Parisians to discover the richness of the Chinese culture and highlight the identity of the Chinese in Paris," said the Paris City Hall in a statement. The city authorities pays about half of the cost.

On the Chinese New Year day, the Effel Tower will also be illuminated in red to pay tribute to the Chinese culture.



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