CHINESE nationals all over Spain have been celebrating their New Year this weekend, with some major cities featuring huge, colourful parades.
The Year of the Monkey kicked off today (Saturday) with a bright and flamboyant procession in the Usera neighbourhood of the Spanish capital – Madrid's 'Chinatown', since the vast majority of its residents are Chinese and businesses Chinese-run – with locals proud of their thousand-year-old culture showing off their patriotic side.
But they are equally proud to be living in Spain, as was seen by the red and yellow satin suits and banners.
And spectators, who filled the pavements several rows deep, were of numerous nationalities, mainly Chinese and Spanish but also tourists from elsewhere in the world.
Bright-yellow dragons, men and women in traditional costume, and children in yellow and red flying flags brought the neighbourhood to a standstill and attracted whoops and cheers, plus crowds of all nationalities taking selfies and convincing the paraders to pose with them.
Chinese citizens have become one of Spain's largest national communities among its expatriates – along with Moroccan, German, British, Romanian, Ecuadorian and Colombian – and even the smallest towns have at least one Chinese restaurant.
In fact, the obligatory Chinese bazaar in nearly every town has taken over from the Todo a cien, or 100-peseta shops in the last 15 years or so, selling cheap and cheerful household necessities ranging from coat-hangers to tights, mugs and plates to shower curtains, and pots and pans through to extension wires.