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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

Here are  some facts about Thailand:

1. The Thai greeting “sawatdee” was invented during the Second World War. Before that, people greeted each other by asking if they had eaten yet.

2. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is the hottest capital city in the world.

3. HRH The Crown Prince, an avid collector of classic cars, has the largest private collection of ”Classic cars” in Thailand.

4. H.M. The King once met Elvis Presley and Walt Disney.

5. HM the King is a renowned Jazz saxophonist who has played with many of the world”s greatest Jazz musicians.

6. HM the King is an Olympic standard yachtsman.

7. The Orchid is Thailand”s best flowering export. Exports of the Orchid are valued at US$250million per annum.

8. According to the Thai media, the estimated public gathering of 1 million people on 9 June 2006, to celebrate HM The King”s 60th year – was the largest public gathering in history to celebrate a royal event.

9. The beautiful Similan Islands in the south of Thailand got their name from Malay language. The islands are 9 in total and the Malay word for ”nine” is – Similan.

10. In Thailand, both Father”s Day and Mother”s Day are celebrated on the birthdays of Their Majesties the King and Queen.

11. Prior to 1913, most Thais did not have surnames.

12. Thailand”s most expensive pure-breed of dog is the beautiful ”Bangkaew”. Half-wolf/half-house dog, the Bangkaew has it”s origins in Phitsanulok province. Premium Bangkaew dogs sell for around 50,000 baht ($1,300). There is currently one in Phitsanulok (Top Father) which is watched by a security guard as it is valued at an astonishing…….2,000,000 baht ($54,000)!

13. According to the ”Guinness Book of Records 1995”, the Thai language has the second largest alphabet in the world. Second only to Khmer.

14. The name Bangkok (Thai language in origin) means ”Village of Olives” (Ban Mah-gork).

15. An English mistake is the ”Maekhong River”. Known in every English book about Thailand – as the ”Maekhong River”, it ought to be called the Khong River instead. ”Mae” already means ”river” so there is no need to repeat oneself.

16. The 1994 Guinness Book of Records contains the entry: the world”s biggest restaurant – the Royal Dragon Restaurant, Bangkok – can serve 5,000 eaters in its palatial dining rooms at one time.

17. According to extensive research carried out in 2001, there is an average of 5.2 cockroaches per Thai house!

18. Nakhon Pathom, boasts the tallest Buddhist pagoda both in Thailand and in the world.

19. Wat Traimitr (Temple of the Golden Buddha) this is the world”s largest solid gold Buddha, cast about nine centuries ago. The image is three meters high and weighs five and half tons.

20. It is illegal in Thailand for women to visit night-time entertainment venues alone. They must go with a man!

21. It is illegal in Thailand for men (and women of course) to go bare-chested in public. You must wear a top at all times!

22. It is illegal in Thailand, to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear.

23. After spending the night together (unmarried couple) the female is entitled to ask the man to marry her – and give a dowry. If the man doesn”t want to get married, the women is entitled to seek compensation ie….money.

24. The man is entitled to sue his new wife in a court of law and get his dowry back, if it is found that the bride had had sex with another man before, and so – not a ‘virgin’ at the time of marriage.

25. Since 1939, it has been illegal to NOT stand-up for the national anthem.

26. Bangkok full name in the Thai language is the longest city name in the world.

27. H.M. The King was born in America.

28. Some barbers close on Wednesday because Thais believe that it”s not good to have hair cut on Wed.

29. Don”t touch Thais” heads if you are not very close friend to them.

30. Point something with foot is impolite in Thailand.

31. Thai calendar is counted on Buddhist Era (After the death of the Buddha). Now 2008 in Thai calendar is 2551.

32. Thai superstitions about color.  Thais are a very superstitious people and there are many superstitious beliefs and customs that have long been observed in Thailand. Some superstitions are about good luckand some are about bad luck. For example, there are superstitions about the meaning of colors and some take it very seriously. Thais believe that wearing the right color on the right day would bring luck. Most people don’t really seem to follow this practice anymore, but some may have a small piece of clothing, like a tie or handkerchief, which is the correct color.

to be continued

This is a train go through bazaar in Bangkok 🙂

Posted by Evgo

Princess Galyani Vadhana of Thailand

(6 May 1923 – 2 January 2008) was a Princess of Thailand and the elder sister of King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) and King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). She was also a direct granddaughter of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).

Funeral Temple of Princess Galyani Vadhana

The ceremonies for the Princess, the full mourning period runs from 13th to 19th November. After the mourning is over, the funeral temple, temporarily constructed at Sanam Luang by the Grand Palace after months of work by hundreds of craftsmen, will be demolished. Onlookers can only see the temple from the pavement that runs around the oval parade ground, as it is shut to the public.

Thousands of mourners turned out to watch the ceremony, which came a day after more than 100,000 Thais attended the lavish US$8.9 million (S$13.5 million) cremation of the princess, the elder sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. On Saturday 15, 3 processions (from the royal throne hall, where she had lain in state for 10 months) were composed of 3,294 soldiers, flanked by conch shell-blowers, drummers and musicians. Two of the processions involved Phra Yannamas Sam Lam Khan, an 18th century, seven metric ton palanquin carried by 60 men. The two-century-old sweet-smelling sandalwood golden teak urn hold Galyani’s remains in upright position, on top of an elaborately decorated 14-ton golden carriage Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot.

Both dressed in white ceremonial dress, Maha Vajiralongkorn, Crown Prince of Thailand and Somchai Wongsawat, inter alia, took part in the procession, in Sanam Luang parade ground. In Uttaradit, black-dressed Thais flocked to the royally-sponsored Wat Klong Poh in the provincial sea to place 400,000 sandalwood flowers at the crematorium. At 10 pm Saturday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will, with the help of a hydraulic tappet, set light to a 40m (130ft) high funeral pyre, modeled on Mount Meru. The $5.7m (£3.8m) temporary royal crematorium, a complex of pavilions, constructed on the Sanam Luang parade ground 7 months, had been lavishly decorated with flowers, garlands and carved banana stalks. Soldiers pulled the royal chariot carrying the funeral urn slowly past the Grand Palace to Sanam Luang, as Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and Princess Sirindhorn followed, paying final respects to their aunt. After the cremation, the funeral buildings will be torn down, as reminders of a beloved royal’s death. Galyani’s spirit will then return home to Mount Meru, where all deities eternally live, per Hindu beliefs.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s only sister, Princess Wattana, who died from cancer in January at age 84, is mourned by millions in Thailand.

The elaborate funeral, nearly a year in the making, involves thousands of soldiers in dress uniform and a gilded, ornate crematorium.

This majestic tribute, Thais believe, befits the princess’ place in the revered monarchy.

The king and queen will preside over the actual cremation in a private ceremony.

Thousands of people came, bearing offerings of sandalwood, and lining up to pay their final respects. Those who were not able to be at Sanam Luang will have an opportunity to pay their respects at monasteries around the country.

A group of women had journeyed from Chumpon Province in the south on an overnight trip to attend the funeral.

One of the woman said: “I loved the princess because she was down-to-earth… I came to lay sandalwood flowers below her portrait.”

A member of the public said: “She worked very hard for people, so that made me want to attend this funeral… to pay a final tribute.”

Another said: “As a Thai, I am proud of the small part I can play by coming to her funeral.”
Is the first full royal funeral since 1996, when the king’s mother Srinagarindra was cremated. It had been performed for only four royals in Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 62-year reign. A rare glimpse of the pageantry of the House of Chakri, the royal funeral tradition dated back to Ayuthaya period is influenced by 1,000-year-old India’s Hindu traditions that treat kings as incarnations or descendants of deities and Buddhism’s merit-making ceremonies. The 6-day funeral ceremony and ritual officially started on Friday November 14, 2008, at the Grand Palace, and terminates on November 19 when Galyani’s ashes will be transferred to a nearby temple.

Posted by Evgo

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