“I confess: I usually do not go to Paris Parade Chinese New Year.” Danielle Elisseeff apologized politely smiling his curious inexperience. “This may be a reflex. But for me China is not China in Paris.” Researcher Emeritus at EHESS on modern and contemporary China and professor at the Ecole du Louvre, Danielle Elisseeff has always loved the East. Hair light blonde hooked on the neck, this petite and energetic lady is an expert of Chinese heritage.
For the first time, Sunday, February 17, she will attend the parade of the 13th arrondissement of Paris, at the invitation of the mayor. At 75, she had the opportunity to observe some western shows. On the Champs-Elysees, a few years ago, and in Montreal. “It is very cushy, compared to China Although the Chinese community is very important, it is not this mass of humanity we find there there. ”
More than the parade, the heart of the festival is, for her, the crowd takes to the streets to “be together. This is a principle very Taoist. In a Chinese festive crowd was this feeling to form a single body. I could be wrong, but for me, the festival in China is a. We’re all together and we get carried away. was allowed to rise in the flow of our life. they drink alcohol, eat, scream, dance … ”
Danielle Elisseeff prefer to talk about the Spring Festival, more than Chinese New Year. Because it is the revival of that famous nature, in several Asian countries. “For me, this is something very profound. Religious. In the sense that it is the perception of our connection with cosmic change. Changing moon, where the light is really back is celebrated, and where land wakes up. ”
In China, these days we are witnessing real mass migration. The Chinese can spend fortunes to find family or return to their areas of origin in the country. Millions of people crashing into trains and airplanes. The trip can take whole days.
Also difficult to find a seat on a flight from France. The Chinese who can go buy their tickets in advance and prices can multiply. The Spring Festival is now larger than the National Day May 1: “The cosmic life has taken precedence over social life,” says the researcher.
Swept by the Cultural Revolution in the 1980s, the Chinese traditions are full resurrection. “If today, these traditions are very alive, she adds, do not forget that they are to a large extent reinvented, mixed with fragments of memory. Old deculturated were by the Cultural Revolution I do not know what they can broadcast. ”
The Chinese communities outside China are also trying to reclaim the traditions of the New Year. The parade na? T identity as a time of celebration, everyone participates. But is reinterpreted to Western.
Take pictures of the parade in Paris: “The costumes are invented from minorities or opera characters It’s very pretty, charming, but it’s folklore This is China on stage…” His caressing voice and gentle, Danielle Elisseeff suggests that Chinese capital trying, after all, to please the Parisians: “They mix well dressed people as on July 14, with a parade of Knowing Disneyland in China. , we love Disneyland. ”
And now in the streets of the 13th arrondissement appear white dresses, the color of mourning, or masks tha? Landes, or pink “flashy”. These inaccuracies are they aware? “I think they are in good faith. Look vans. This is honest, sincere.’s Commercial? Ants dress them with greetings happiness is typical. Remember that even here to recreate a mood, it is able to mix costumes from the Middle Ages with other eighteenth century. ”
An increasing number of Parisians give appointment to the parade. Even Danielle Elisseeff has decided:.. “I did not want to before, now I’m a little curious I take the invitation of the mayor I am biased, but do not denigrate culture of the 13th. They are creating something. Someday, perhaps, the Chinese educated here think the reconstructions Versailles and even China. They will wonder why not do something more historically accurate and less touristy . ”
Meanwhile Sunday, February 17 that will, in the Porte d’Ivry to the Place d’Italie, and return the parade, it still takes precautions: “I’ll be careful spectator, she says, reality knows how to surprise us. ” And “at a Chinese festival, you will not escape the great food!” She says, blinking.