France Dinner

Bailliage of Paris Ile de France, France
Paris, February 28, 2022

Celebrating the Chinese New Year
" at Pho Thai restaurant, in Paris' Chinatown "

The atmosphere was warm and friendly as Edouard de Soultrait, Bailli of Paris-Île-de-France, gathered together members and friends of the Chaîne at Pho Thai restaurant, in Paris’ Chinatown, to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This year is the year of the Water Tiger.

Hanh Mien Tong went to the Khanh-Anh Pagoda, Europe’s largest Buddhist pagoda, built by the Vietnamese community in Évry, to collect envelopes containing prayers for goodwill and protection for this new year of the Water Tiger. Each guest was given a red envelope.

Hanh Mien remembers this tradition of red envelopes from her childhood in Vietnam: “Têt reminds me of getting a new outfit, and most importantly, my red envelope. The New Year is the only festival of the year that nobody can miss, when the whole family gets together. Wherever you are, you have to go home to spend Têt together. It’s a combination of Christmas and All Saints’ Day, because our deceased ancestors are also part of the celebrations with their descendants.

It’s one of our most beautiful traditions, which we uphold every year with our children. In order to receive their red envelope (ban li xi) they have to wish their grandparents happiness, health, prosperity and longevity.”

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is a custom that is taken from the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. The position of the moon changes every year, as does the zodiac sign with which it is in harmony. So this year is the year of the Water Tiger.

The power of the tiger associated with the power of water is a metaphor for fluidity, communication, mobility, words and interaction. This combination is strong enough to tackle many types of obstacles and extinguish the threatening fires which we encounter every day.

Geneviève Groslière
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