On the 30th of January, the Municipality of Port-Louis organised a parade on the occasion of the Chinese New Year. In true Mauritian fashion, the event which was advertised to start at 16h30 really started at 17h00 with a short speech from a random municipality official. Even though some officials from Réunion Island had made the effort to attend, the newly elected Lord Mayor was nowhere to be seen. Even stranger was the absence of any member of the Chinese community of the town of Port-Louis in the parade.
So at 17h00 the parade set off to the sound of the traditional drums and cymbals and punctuated by the occasional detonation of firecrackers. Three Chinese Southern Lions were the highlight of the show and the parade was also accompanied by the members of various Mauritian Tae-Kwon-Do federations. The parade proceeded briskly along Rémi-Ollier Street to reach the heart of Port-Louis’ Chinatown.
Once there, the Tae-Kwon-Do martial artists performed various stunts and demonstrations. Sadly, most Chinese businesses were closed and apart from the people who came along with the parade from the Municipality, few people, even from the Chinese community attended the event held there; a far cry from the animation that can be usually seen on the occasion of the Chinatown Food and Cultural Festival. It must be sadly noted that apparently not a lot of thought was given prior to making those stunts concerning security because when a performer broke plywood panels with a few kicks, a rather large fragment flew off and hit a woman who has holding her child in her arms. The child was visibly scared, but thankfully not hurt.
The men’s demonstration was followed by the women’s and then the children’s. The parade then proceeded to the Caudan Waterfront where a cultural show was held with the participation of the Liaoning Art Troupe from China.