Chinese New Year in 2006 falls on 29 January and marks the start of the Year of the Dog. Celebrations in Rome include a traditional dragon dance in Piazza Vittorio on Saturday 4 February and a private performance of traditional songs and dance for the Chinese community at the Teatro Orione (S. Giovanna area) on Tuesday 14 February. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the lunar month and continue until the 15th, when the moon is brightest.

The Chinese follow the lunar calendar and thus the actual date of New Year is different every time. Each year is represented by one of 12 animals. Those born in the years 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2006 fall under the sign of the dog and according to tradition are loyal, kind, and generous.

According to the Italian statistics agency ISTAT there are currently 111,712 Chinese nationals resident in Italy (figures updated 31 December 2004) making them the fourth largest foreign community in Italy (after the Albanians, Moroccans and Romanians).

For more information on events in Rome contact LAssociazione Italia-Cina, Piazza Grazioli 18, tel. 066798758.