Eiffel Tower red for Chinese New Year

16th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 16 (AFP) - Paris is planning an unprecedented welcome for the Chinese New Year with the Eiffel Tower to be bathed in red light and a huge procession down the Champs Elysees featuring a giant goldfish, a traditional lion dance and, of course, dragons.

PARIS, Jan 16 (AFP) - Paris is planning an unprecedented welcome for the Chinese New Year with the Eiffel Tower to be bathed in red light and a huge procession down the Champs Elysees featuring a giant goldfish, a traditional lion dance and, of course, dragons.

The estimated 40,000 Chinese who live in the French capital will for the first time be holding a New Year's procession on the central avenue, a main draw for tourists, with city officials keen to point out that the thoroughfare has never before been devoted to a non-French cultural event.

The procession on January 24 will be the high point of a "France-China" cultural week, and will feature 7,500 participants, 54 massive floats - of which four are being provided by the Chinese government - and 12 lofty decorative poles.

In addition to the floats, Beijing is providing some 800 artists, including acrobats, dancers and the event's artistic director, Li Jicheng.

Presenting the plans to reporters this week, Li explained that the goldfish, which will be 14 metres (45 feet) long and six metres (20 feet) high, was a symbol of good luck, and would lead the procession.

Another feature being sent from Beijing would be a float representing the Summer Olympic Games, which Beijing is to host in 2008.

Among other more traditional elements, the procession is to include dragons, drummers, dancers, acrobats, martial arts champions, children's choirs, garlands, lanterns and a profusion of dragons.

One of the latter, a 50-metre (160-foot) monster, is to wend its way up the avenue while the main procession is coming down.

The main floats will also feature tableaux on Chinese subjects including "the 56 minorities," the "legend of the 108" and "the honest magistrate," officials said.

The 12 giant poles will each represent one of the signs of the Chinese zodiac, which are represented by animals. This year we are entering the year of the monkey.

An official from the Paris town hall, Pierre Schapira, said the city was proud to be hosting the ceremonies, to which it will be devoting EUR 210,000 (USD 260,000) out of a total budget of EUR 480,000.

Among other events, the Eiffel Tower is to replace its usual white illuminations with a blaze of red projectors, which will continue throughout the week.


© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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