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Chinese New Year In Thailand

26 of January 2009

The Chinese New Year that is celebrated for about fifteen days is one moment in the year when the wholenew-year nation feels united as they can imagine each others enjoyment. The Chinese New Year gets determined by the chinese new year calendar and therefore it is sometimes called the Lunar New Year. In 2009, the Chinese Lunar Year Festival would start from 26 th of January. Chinese twelve-year circle will roll into the year of ox. In Chinese language, ox is pronounced as Niu. Niu, as an animal in general, was playing the role of dragging a plough in field before the invention of modern industrialized farm tools in Chinese history. The image of Niu in Chinese culture is hard-working and down-to-earth so that it is highly respected by Chinese. As every one is aware of its significance, the working people in china can take weeks of holidays so that they can join the company of their near and dear ones and a feast with their family members on the chinese new year eve or Lunar New Years Eve. Although with the changing times and increasing mobility of the people the celebration of Chinese New Year Festival has undergone some changes, everybody still very fervently follow all the customs that their elders have taught them.  Chinese New Year is a major annual festival that is celebrated with grandiose in several parts of Thailand. Even in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Mongolia and Nepal, Chinese New Year is a major public holiday.

Chinese New year In Thailand

History of Chinese New Year in Thailand dates back to several centuries old when the early Chinese immigrants settled in this part of the world. Bangkok’s china town or Yawarat and Chinese community in the Nakhon Sawon province are some of the oldest Chinese settlements in Thailand. As the Sino-Thai trade and merchandise of precious goods such as fine porcelain, silk and Chinese tea flourished; there was an increase in permanent settlements of Chinese of various ethnic origins. However, these communities have continued their age-old traditions, customs, and rich culture that were followed by their ancestors. In Thailand, Chinese New Year celebrations are held over a period of four days. During this period, several features are displayed that remind the rich cultural, historical and artistic legacy of the Chinese. Golden Dragon Processions are a treat to watch.

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The official route of parades and performances extends from Traimit Road, past Wat Traimit temple, with the worlds largest solid gold Buddha image, China Town Gate (the King’s Birthday Celebration Arch; Chalermphrakiat Arch), Yaowarat Road to Ratchawong intersection. Every year, many people in Thailand with Chinese ancestors, celebrate the Chinese New Year with elaborate ceremonies. Some people call New Year’s day ‘The Spring Festival’ because it is the beginning of spring. More prayers are done on New Year’s day, this time for the gods of luck and good fortune. This prayer is usually held in the early morning and you need to look at the ‘Lear Yik Tao’ (the collective book of Chinese culture and tradition) to know the best time to pray. After this prayer, some families perform another prayer for their ancestors.

New Year’s day is the most festive day of all the three days. People go to their relatives’ houses to give andheppiness-fu receive blessings. They exchange oranges and give away ‘Ang Pao’ to the younger children. Chinese believe that doing this will bring them good luck in the New Year.

Moreover, during this time of New Year in Thailand parades are organized, where troupes of dancers participate. People also visit the temples to offer prayers. Moreover, during the Chinese New Year in Thailand, people decorate their houses and buy new clothes for their friends and relatives. People also greet their loved ones with clothes, ornaments and flowers. Some of the special cuisines which are prepared during the Chinese New Year are Chinese cake, steamed duck, pork and chicken preparations as well as a variety of other vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian cuisines.

chaina_new_yearIn many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets.

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian or “Year” in Chinese. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, the Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozus mount.

First day of the new year
The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year”s Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the day before.

Second day of the new year
Incense is burned at the graves of ancestors as part of the offering and prayer ritual.
The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.
On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs.
Business people of the Cantonese dialect group will hold a ”Hoi Nin” prayer to start their business on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. The prayer is done to pray that they will be blessed with good luck and prosperity in their business for the year.

Third and fourth days of the new year
The third and fourth day of the Chinese New Year are generally accepted as inappropriate days to visit relatives and friends due to the following schools of thought. People may subscribe to one or both thoughts.

Fifteenth day of the new year
The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuánxi?o jié , otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect. Rice dumplings Tangyuan (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: pinyin: t?ngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.
This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of Chinese New Year changes every year. The010 Chinese calendar follows a 12-year pattern with each year named after an animal. There are various stories which explain this. The simplest is that Buddha (or the Jade Emperor) invited all of the animals to join him for a New Year celebration, but only 12 animals turned up. To reward the animals that did come, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived, starting with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Depending on the year you are born, you are believed to have the various character traits of that year””s animal.

2008 – February 7 – Year of the Rat
2009 – January 26 – Year of the Ox
2010 – February 14 – Year of the Tiger