Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies: E-journal, Vol 1.1, Parbuono

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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 1.1 (2018): 278–320; https://dx.doi.org/10.15239/hijbs.01.01.10
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in the West)

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The Centre of the Centre: The Buddhist Temple and the Chinese New Year in the Prato Urban Space

Daniele PARBUONO
Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, University of Perugia
daniele.parbuono@hotmail.com

Keywords: Anthropology of Migration, Chinese in Prato, Buddhist Temple, Chinese New Year, Urban Spaces

Abstract: This article analyzes some important aspects of the relationships and spatial disputes between the temple of the ‘Associazione Buddista della comunità cinese’ and Prato’s complex context. In the last three decades, the city—with a significantly increased population due to post-World War II internal migration—has been involved in a steady Chinese migration that transformed spatial relationships and ways of living. In this context, the temple association organizes different group activities tied to worship or the needs of the migration condition. During festive events, the temple receives pilgrims from other Italian cities, and with great care hosts the political and religious authorities, emphasizing the quantitative and socio-cultural weight of the Chinese community. The propulsive energy of the temple emerges in observation of events and political dynamics related to the Chinese New Year. When the costume parade—promoted by the Association—crosses between the professional and private lives of Prato’s families, it evokes the symbolic right to use the city’s space throughout the year.