The Spring Festival - How Lisbon celebrated the Chinese New Year

From Martim Moniz to Alameda D. Afonso Henriques, going up one of the most important arteries in Lisbon historical center, the concept of “going to a Chinese store” is redundant. Entrance and integration venue of the Chinese community in the country’s capital, this zone is located between Mouraria and the Technical Institute college, and was once an undesirable place, being avoided by most people and even locals.

However, it is now a small (big) “Chinatown” where people should and must loose themselves between traditional Portuguese and Chinese shops to avant-garde restaurants.  

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In 2019, February New Year’s celebrations (under The Pig Chinese zodiac sign) were no exception from previous years and the parade, which included several groups and associations, started in Almirante Reis avenue between music, color – mainly red as it brings good luck to anyone who wears it – ending near Fonte Luminosa, where the typical and usual fair waited for the large audience with traditional Chinese products.

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Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Portugal, and at the same time, the 20th anniversary of Government transfer of Macao (it was the last European colony in Asia after 400 years under Portugal administration).

The festivities in Portuguese territory are one of the biggest and most well organized in Europe, especially due to the quick answer the country has to intercultural exchange which represents the answer to a more globalized world, but also due to the investment facility that the Chinese immigration presents, becoming the fifth foreign community living in Portugal.

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No need to say that Portugal still is the entrance of the “old-new” world.

Words & imagery by Claudia Silva