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Chinese New Year (also called the Lunar New Year) occurs in the early months of our calendar year, typically January or February and this year falls on January 23rd. This is the first of 15 days of celebration and the start of the Year of the Dragon.

Year of the Dragon
In Chinese tradition, each year is dedicated to a specific animal. The Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Rat, Boar, Rabbit, Dog, Rooster, Ox, Tiger, Snake, and Ram are the twelve animals that are part of this tradition. In 2012, the Dragon is welcomed back after the 2011 year of the Rabbit. Each of these animals are thought to bestow their characteristics to the people born in their year.

While the Year of the Rabbit was characterized by calm and tranquility, the Year of the Dragon will be marked by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity. The Rabbit imbues people with a sense of cautious optimism, but people respond to the spirit of the Dragon with energy, vitality and unbridled enthusiasm, often throwing all caution to the wind – which can be an unwise move: The Dragon is all about drama but if you take unnecessary risks, you may find yourself starring in your own personal tragedy.

The Dragon’s Personality
People born under the Dragon are passionate, brave and self-assured. At their best they are pioneering spirits; at their worst, they epitomize the old adage: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Dragons are generous with their resources, a tendency that at its most negative can reflect a foolhardy attitude towards money. But Dragons in general are blessed with good fortune. They are smart, enterprising and have a wicked sense of humor. They have a natural flair for fashion and are the people to consult if you want to catch up on the latest trends.

This Chinese New Year 2012 ushers in the Water Dragon. Water exerts a calming influence on the Dragon’s innate fire. Water Dragons are more open to other people’s opinions than other Dragons which gives them the ability to channel their personal charisma into real leadership qualities.

Famous celebrities born in under the Dragon include John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Al Pacino, Marlene Dietrich and Matt Dillon. The Dragon’s lucky color is yellow.

The Dragon and Love
Dragons are passionate. They fall in love quickly – and out of love just as quickly. Their charisma and charm is an immense draw to people of the opposite sex whose attention and admiration they crave. Though they have a tendency to treat love like a game, they can settle down when they meet the right partner, someone who’s strong enough not to be bowled over by the Dragon’s flamboyant, independent and stubborn personality.

The Dragon’s ideal partners are the Rat, the Monkey, and the Rooster: The Rat is practical, observant and resourceful, able to help the Dragon when extravagant promises have backed the Dragon into a corner. The Monkey is just as popular as the Dragon, curious, intellectual and fun-loving, one of the few personalities the Dragon doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight with. The Rooster can give the Dragon a run for the money on the fashion-forward front; attractive, well-groomed, fiercely loyal and committed to honesty, the Rooster serves as the Dragon’s reality check, keeping the Dragon from making promises that he or she can’t keep.

The Dragon and Wealth
Dragon years are lucky for anyone thinking of starting a business or initiating a new project of any sort because money is easier to come by for everyone, whether it’s earned, borrowed or received as a gift. Consequently we can expect the economic downturn to ease up a bit in the coming year. Fortunes can be made but they can also be lost: Keep in mind like all good things, the Year of the Dragon will come to an end and you will be held accountable for unreasonable extravagances.

Dragons do well in professions that give them the ability to function somewhat autonomously. They make excellent sales people, publicists, political campaigners, lawyers, real estate brokers, actors and politicians.

Chinese New Year is a lively celebration in Thailand, with dragon dances, fireworks, and banquets prepared on the streets for the benefit of ancestral spirits particularly in Samphanthawong District, the largest China Town in Thailand. Well–known for its streets of goldsmiths and numerous restaurants serving tasty Chinese cuisine, Bangkok’s Chinatown “Yaowarat” is filled with people who still preserve a distinctly Chinese way of life, including both tradition and culture. That’s why the Chinese New Year celebration in this area is a major festival and is well organized every year.

In China Town and elsewhere throughout the kingdom, lion and dragon dances are performed to ward off evil spirits, martial arts demonstrations are staged at various venues, Chinese street operas are staged along major thoroughfares and finally, fireworks are lit to mark the end of the new years celebration.

Songkran: Thailand New Year

07 of April 2009

Songkran or Water Festival is a Thai traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3 days. Songkran festival on April 13 is Maha Songkran Day or the day to mark the end of the old year, April 14 is Wan Nao which is the day after and April 15 is “Wan Thaloeng Sok” which the New Year begins.

songkran-thailand

Until 1888 the Thai New Year was the beginning of the year in Thailand; thereafter 1 April was used until 1940. 1 January is now the beginning of the year. The traditional Thai New Year has been a national holiday since then. At this time, people from the rural areas who are working in the city usually return home to celebrate the festival. Usually this period is the hottest time in the year. People all over the country celebrate and relieve the heat by playing water together. Songkran days are also family days for Thai people too. Young people of the family pour water on the hands of revered elders and ask for their blessing. People go to temples and pour water with traditional Thai perfume to the statues of Buddha or the monks and ask for blessing.

Songkran is a Thai word which means “move” or “change place” as it is the day when the sun changes its position in songkran-thailandthe zodiac. It is also known as the “Water Festival” as people believe that water will wash away bad luck. The Songkran tradition is recognized as a valuable custom for the Thai community, society and religions. The value for family is to provide the opportunity for family members to gather in order to express their respects to the elders by pouring scented water onto the hands of their parents and grandparents and to present them gifts including making merits to dedicate the result to their ancestors. The elders in return wish the youngsters good luck and prosperity.

Songkran usually lasts for three days, but might stretch to five or seven, depending on where you are in the country.

Today, Songkran is often referred to as “Water Wars.” With its legendary temple architecture and laid-back pace, not to mention the conveniently water-filled moat that forms a giant square around its Old City, Chiang Mai is known as the holiday is unofficial ground zero. Songkran is celebrated with an enthusiasm bordering on pure pandemonium. Thousands of revelers line up alongside all sides of the moat.

During Songkran, Thais visit monasteries and convene with family and friends. But mostly, it is a time when Thais contemplate renewal, by ritualistically “cleansing” each other with water, naturally of any mistakes or misdeeds they may have caused during the previous 12 months. Playing water on Songkran is not only for relieving the heat, pouring water to each other means a blessing for the coming year.

Nowadays, the emphasis is on fun and water-throwing rather than on the festival””””””””s spiritual and religious aspects, which sometimes prompts complaints from traditionalists. In recent years there have been calls to moderate the festival to lessen the many alcohol-related road accidents as well as injuries attributed to extreme behavior such as water being thrown in the faces of traveling motorcyclists.
songkran on the street
The water is meant as a symbol of washing all of the bad away and is sometimes filled with fragrant herbs.
Songkran is also celebrated in many places with a paegant in which young women demonstrate their beauty and unique talents, as judged by the audience. The level of financial support usually determines the winner, since, to show your support you must purchase necklaces which you place on your chosen girl.

Historically, the throwing of water represented respect: Younger Thais would show reverence by gently songkran-thailandsprinkling water or perfume onto the hands of their elders, who in turn would then sprinkle the town is monks, as well as its beloved Buddha statues. But possibly because April is Thailand is hottest month, and possibly because Thais and Westerners have embraced the tradition as an excuse to go berserk, the holiday is heritage and symbolism now coexist with sheer fun.

Some people make New Year resolutions – to refrain from bad behavior, or to do good things. Songkran is a time for cleaning and renewal. Besides washing household Buddha images, many Thais also take this opportunity to give their home a thorough cleaning

There are Songkran parades in each province all over the country.


Songkran Water Festival in ThailandFor more funny videos, click here

(suk-san wan songkran) – meaning “Happy Songkran Day”

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