In recent months, much of what has been written about China in the Swedish press has been related to the unsuccessful sale of Swedish automaker Saab to Chinese carmakers.
But around midday on Saturday, anyone who ventures into central Stockholm will be confronted by a different symbol from China: a dragon.
And not just any dragon, but what is being hyped as Sweden’s longest dragon parade, assembled as part of the Chinese new year celebrations organized by the Museum of East Asia (Östasiatiska museet).
According to the Chinese calendar, January 23rd marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, and to mark the occasion, the Museum of East Asia has a full slate of events planned for Saturday, January 21st to kick off the celebrations.
Following the parade, the museum will put on a number of dragon-themed activities for visitors young and old interested in ringing the start of the Chinese new year.
According to the museum’s Birgitta Hansson-Sidvall, more than 3,000 people turned out to last year’s event, which marks its seventh year this year.
And for Chinese residents in Sweden, the Year of the Dragon festivities won’t stop on Saturday.
Traditionally, Chinese new year celebrations last 15 days, ending with a Lantern Festival.
“We invite friends who have some connection to China to our home for Chinese dinner with dumplings, hotpot, spring rolls, all kinds of Chinese delicacies,” says Wang Leyun, an artist and teacher who lives on Södermalm in Stockholm after moving to Sweden 1991 from Hangzhou.
“A friend who studied in China usually gives ‘hongbao’ to the children,” she adds, referring to the Chinese name for the small red packets that usually contain some money for good luck.
So even you can’t make it to Stockholm for the Saturday celebrations, there is still plenty of time to mark the coming of the Year of the Dragon.
The Museum of East Asia’s Chinese new year celebrations begin at 11.30am on Saturday, January 21st, with the Dragon parade starting at Sergels Torg at noon. See the link below for more information.