Monday, February 7, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit: Chinese New Year in Paris

As I was casually cleaning the apartment last Thursday, I almost pooped myself. Not from cleaning. Out of nowhere, massive explosions blasted outside my window as if it were the end of the world. I actually jumped it caught me so off-guard. I looked out my window to see an enormous mushroom cloud of smoke rising up from the opposite side of my apartment complex, an area that looks over onto the nearby street. Was it a bomb? Another riot? Maybe a car or bus exploded... whatever it was, I didn't know if I wanted to check it out, or hide from it. It was as loud as fireworks...


... and that's exactly what it was. 

Living in the 13th arrondissement (Chinatown) of Paris means almost living in two different countries in one place, and I love it. I have two different cultures right at my doorstep. 

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Then it clicked. I went out onto my balcony, only to be relieved by the sound of drumming and cheering, which I couldn't hear when I was inside with the doors closed. Last Thursday was the start of the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, and the new year rings in with crackling fireworks and colorful parades.

Chinese New Year in Paris

Whew. I guess they were practicing for the big parade that following Sunday. I was so excited, as I have never experienced Chinese New Year, and this was probably the closest I would get besides the stories form my friends in Shanghai.

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

I sat back and relaxed. I didn't check out the commotion that Thursday; I wanted to experience it all that Sunday (yesterday) at the Chinese New Year Parade, which is just a few blocks away from my apartment.

The parade was filled with colorful costumes, dancing dragons, and loud, crackling fireworks. Parade rules here in Paris are pretty lax compared to the strict, police-monitored parades of the States. You can basically walk in, around, in front of, next to, under, and wherever you want. People in the parade were chatting on their cell phones and mingling with parade-watchers. I wasn't going to complain... it let me get a lot of great shots, and see the parade without standing on my tippy-toes.

Chinese New Year in Paris

Here are a few of my favorites from the parade...

Chinese New Year in Paris 

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Chinese New Year in Paris

Happy Year of the Rabbit everyone!

3 comments:

  1. I love it! Living in HI, you can imagine there was quite the Chinese NY celebration, too! Great pics.

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  2. The parade looks awesome, great photos as usual! I wish I was able to find something to go to here :(

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