Chinese communities in US capital Washington DC celebrate the lunar new year. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Dominic Swire]
Over the past week Chinese communities across the world have been celebrating the lunar new year. US capital Washington DC is no exception. Sunday saw thousands come out to watch the city's annual Chinese parade. Dominic Swire was there and brings us this report.
"We know there have been a lot of changes in our city in recent years..."
Mayor of US capital Washington DC Vincent Gray speaking to a crowd of thousands during the city's annual Chinese New Year parade.
"...but what hasn't changed and will hopefully not change is the presence of Chinatown as an important cultural centre here in the District of Columbia."
Pavements were crammed as people from dozens of Chinese cultural organisations paraded down the streets. I caught up with one of them.
"My name is Chen Ji Sheng, I'm with Columbia Chinese language School."
"Why is it important for you guys to take part in this festival?"
"Because this is the New Year, it's a very important year, the dragon year."
Onlookers were equally impressed.
"We've hung out at things like the cherry blossom festival before and the Asian-American festivals and stuff like that, so we figured we'd see the biggest one, the Chinese New Year. This is supposed to be the big thing."
"We saw some Shaolin monks doing martial arts. That was pretty amazing and we saw a dragon chasing after a ball."
The festival culminated in firecrackers and a huge dragon dance.
The event was organized by the local Chinatown Community Cultural Center.
Stephanie Cheng is Executive Director.
"Everyone wants to come and celebrate Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is a festive holiday. It's a cultural holiday, so not only is it a time to get together and enjoy the festivities but people can also celebrate the culture and ring in the New Year with good luck."
This Chinese New Year is associated with the dragon, believed to be the luckiest of all the Chinese zodiac animals.
For CRI, I'm Dominic Swire.