HolaChina wishes everybody a happy Year of the Tiger from Madrid.

Chinese New Year in Madrid

Last week, the Chinese community in Madrid celebrated the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger, right in the centre of the city. The parade started in the emblematic Puerta del Sol (where we live), and finished in Plaza de España, passing the Royal Palace on the way.

Each year the parade seems to increase in size, both in the number of participants and spectators. In years gone by, the celebration was limited to the charismatic neighbourhood of Lavapiés, where many Chinese have their wholesale businesses. These days, the narrow, hilly streets of Lavapiés have become too small for the growing celebration.

The parade included all the usual dancing dragons, lions and people dressed in folkloric costumes. Martial arts displays, mostly performed by Spanish Kung Fu students under the instruction of their Chinese master, and food stalls made up the rest of the entertainment.

Spanish Kungfu Students and their Master

Curiously, many other stalls were dedicated to the promotion of various companies, as the Chinese always like to combine business with pleasure.

It was interesting to note that the Chinese community in Madrid is truly divided along regional lines, for example the association of Chinese from the North East

Dongbei Ren in Madrid /东北人
Dongbei Ren in Madrid /东北人

or the Fujian association, with each community having their own dragon, or particular group in the parade.

Fujian Ren in Madrid / 福建人

By far the biggest of these groups is the association from Zhejiang, a coastal province south of Shanghai. However, even they are divided into associations from Wenzhou, Zhejiang’s main city, and others from Qingtian, a small rural area several hundred kilometres from Wenzhou. Small as the area may be, it is estimated that the Chinese from Qingtian make up 80% of the 44.000 Chinese residents, officially registered in Madrid.

Incidentally, many Chinese from outside Qingtian tend to poke fun at their compatriots, who they see as country bumpkins (土包子). Qingtian would probably be the Chinese equivalent to the Spanish town of Lepe, whose inhabitants have been the butt of many jokes. Most likely, it has a lot to do with the thick dialect they speak, so thick it is practically unintelligible to any Mandarin speaker from outside Zhejiang and even difficult for a Wenzhou Chinese to understand.

Anyway, whatever their differences, the Chinese community in Madrid managed to pull off an excellent and colourful show.

Author: Adam

My name is Adam. I have a degree in Chinese History from SOAS and a masters in International Politics focused on China from the same university. I have travelled around China 9 times and since 2000 I have travelled every year for two months. I guess I kind of like the place!

2 thoughts on “HolaChina wishes everybody a happy Year of the Tiger from Madrid.”

  1. I walked through various towns and cities along the St James Route in Northern Spain Sept – Oct 2009. Where i saw a number of Shops, and more in Barcelona. I was told about the larger numbers in Madrid and your latest Blogs confirms the fact. The new genration of Migrants from China will become the “HuaYi” of the 2020s and 2030; where they in their selected Host countries will also become a contributing factor on many levels.

  2. Hi,Margie,
    I heard of you from one of my Spanish friend–Rebeca,she used to be your student in Complutense University, I am a Chinese girl who is living in Madrid right now.When she talked to me about you,about your interest to chinese culture ,I am impressive.Now I am more impressive by your blog. I am so happy that through your blog,more and more western people will know about China and chinese culture. I ‘d like to know you and share my Chinese knowledge with you.
    Withour your mail address,this is the only way I try to contact you,Hope you can see this long message and reply me some words.
    Un saludo!

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