Chinese New Year parade catches eye, heart of Romans

16:48, February 20, 2010      

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The drum's beating, the gong's pounding, then come the dancing "dragons" and "lions." The traditional Chinese New Year parade in Rome has attracted many locals to join on Thursday.

Young and handsome Italian guys in traditional red Chinese suit beat their drums and gongs and lead the parade. The colorful dancing "dragons" and "lions" shake their heads and wag their tails while following their masters. When there's a large audience, the excited "lions" and "dragons" would suddenly jump up, turn a somersault, play some acrobatics, and play coquetry with the nearby audience.

Curious Italian children would come up to touch the dragons' horns and the lions' eyes, and many spectators join the parade and let themselves go with the music and dance.

The parade swans through the Esquilino neighborhood, heart of the Chinese community in Rome, and ends in Piazza Vittorio's gardens, followed by a large crowd of participants and excited spectators.

Davide Moniotto, a 23-year-old martial art student participating in the parade, has been to China many times. "It's not the first time I perform the lion dance here, but each year it's always a great emotion," he said.

For the children of the neighborhood, the parade is a good chance for them to get out of the classroom and have fun. Eight-year-old Elena said she especially enjoyed the "colorful masks and the party atmosphere."

According to Cuijie Xia, deputy president of the Chinese community in Rome and co-organizer of the event, almost 500 people took part in the parade, including elementary school pupils and their teachers, dancers, Shaolin Kungfu Italian fans and a group of 15 students from the Perugia martial arts school who performed the lion and dragon dances.

"This year we had a greater participation compared to the past thanks to the information campaign we launched on local media," said Xia.

Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi spoke highly of the parade. "This is a very important event both for the Chinese and Italian communities," he told Xinhua. "On the one hand, the Chinese people living here have the chance to celebrate their own traditions despite being away from home. On the other hand, Italians get to know Chinese culture better."

Roman Mayor Gianni Alemanno sent greetings to the Chinese in Rome. His representative Francesco Maria Orsi said: "Piazza Vittorio is the symbol of Rome's multiculturalism. Today's celebrations mark the union of two great peoples: the Chinese and the Italians."

More than 10,000 Chinese currently live in Rome. The event was jointly organized by the Chinese community and the central municipality of the capital's City Hall. Other festive events will be held across Italy till March 8.

Source: Xinhua
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