SANTIAGO – Santiago’s Chinese community welcomed the start of the Lunar New Year on Friday with a parade through the Meiggs district.
Mayor Felipe Alessandri attended the celebration along with the Chinese ambassador to Chile, Xu Bu, and the president of the China-Chile Cultural and Arts Center, Juan Carlos Ramirez.
San Alfonso Street, lined with hundreds of businesses whose signs mix Spanish with Mandarin, was the venue for the festivities to mark the start of Lunar Year 4716.
A sudden beating of drums gave way to performers clad in traditional Chinese costumes, heralding the real protagonists: a host of paper dragons and lions.
The purpose of the lion and dragon dances is to banish evil spirits and bad vibrations from homes and businesses at the start of the New Year.
The procession made its way to Mall Parma, where Alessandri and Xu were greeted with a performance of music and dance.