Postcards from Paris: {Bonne Année du Serpent}

The parade hasn’t happened yet. It usually occurs on the day of, the large Chinese dragon moving through the streets in a wave-like manner, confetti everywhere, people in orient attire, and red heart balloons that all define the Chinese New Year (with elements of St. Valentine) Parade. The city is preparing by hanging bright red Chinese lanterns on the facades of Haussmann. I am preparing by eating Chinese cuisine as often as I can.
I met my friend Ye Wu south of central Paris, arriving at Place d’Italie, which is curiously where many of the Chinese population lives in Paris and most often where one can find a delicious and inexpensive array of Chinese restaurants to choose from. It helps going with Ye Wu. She knows exactly which one to go to. She takes care of ordering our meal, and asks for special changes from the menu; all spoken in her mother tongue. Her selections from the menu all comfort my cravings, she shares her special rice with me, and then introduces me to a delicious warm coconut-milk dessert. It’s one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. I order one to go, and wish instead that I had ordered 3.
This year, on the 10th of February, we celebrate the year of the snake. Throughout China, there are different regional traditions. Chinese New Year is equivalent to our Christmas season. People will save for this event in order to indulge on gifts, decorations, food, and traditional orient clothing to wear as a celebration of this new beginning. Known also as the Spring Festival, families traditionally deep clean their homes. This symbolizes a cleansing from any ill-fortune, and it welcomes incoming good luck and prosperity for the new year. The Eve of Chinese New Year, families feast together.
The Lion Dance is performed.
The finale is filled with fireworks.
We all reconcile, forgetting any lingering grudges, wishing each other a year of peace, prosperity, and happiness. A theme for the month of February and continued through the year, this can be wished by everyone regardless of who we are and where we live.
So from Paris,
Bonne Année du Serpent!