Each year, the Chinese new year festival falls on a different day. It is calculated by lunar and solar calendar.
The beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February, because of this cyclical dating. There is also a 12-year cycle represented by animals starting from a rat, and carrying on with ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar (pig). The Chinese believe that the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on their personality, saying: “This is the animal that hides in your heart.”
How do the Chinese to celebrate New Year in Thailand?
Day 1 (Shopping):
Two days before the New Year, the Chinese go shopping and spend their money on food and fruit. Then, they cook and prepare for the next day.
Day 2 (Paying Homage):
In the morning, they Wai or pay respect to God, the protector of their business and house. In the afternoon, merit making takes place for relative ghost by burning papers and providing food for them. After finishing everything, they clean their house and office.
Day 3 (Chew Eik: New Year):
No work and not allowed to do activities such as cleaning the house, sewing cloth, or hair wash. On this day, the Chinese need to eat vegetarian food. In the morning, they bring oranges to offer to their ancestors.
Day 4 (Chew Yea: Day Two):
This is the day for traveling and enjoying the parade (especially the dragon parade) and playing with firework.
Gift for Chinese New Year Celebration
The younger children and teenagers who are not yet working love “Tae-ear”, a red envelope filled with money as a New Year gift from working age adult relatives.
The working people call this money “Ung-poa”. It is also necessary for the Chinese businessmen to provide Ung-poa for their employees as an annual bonus and also a reward for their hard work.
Chinese New Year Celebration : Special food, fruit and dessert
There are many kinds of food that need to be prepared for this celebration. The boiled meat item consists of the whole chicken, duck, and a piece of pork. Fruits, such as orange, banana and apple, also have to be prepared.
A special dessert is called Kanom-Keng. Kanom means dessert in Thai and keng is a special container. In this event, the keng is made up of banana leaf. The dessert is a combination of sticky rice flour and sugar. All the food and ingredients need to be prepared on Day 1, which starts with shopping in the morning. Then, it will take all day long for cooking.
What to do with the food after finishing Wai-ing or paying homage to the ancestors?
Of course, the easiest thing would be to eat the food. But it’s a lot of food! That’s why the Chinese keep some food for their family members and distribute the rest to the Thai people, such as their neighbors, employees and colleagues.
The most famous place for Chinese New Year Celebration in Thailand
There are many places in Thailand that have cerebration for Chinese New Year. However, the most interesting places are in Bangkok and Nakorn Sawan. Two places have the Gigantic Dragon Show, one of the world’s longest exciting shows that lasts all day and night long.
Chinese new year festival in Bangkok Chinatown
In relation to this topic, we will only talk about the celebration in Bangkok. The Thai people got a great gift from China, which was a lion guardian made up of white jade. Many people visited the China Gate just to have their purse and hand bag touched by the statue. When they did that, it meant that they wished to start their year with plenty of money, or that money would not be a problem for them.
While paying respect to Chinese God at the shrine, many incense sticks are lit by the Thai-Chinese. Along with the present of incense, some bring a bottle of cooking oil, food and flower to offer. Then, they burn donation paper to offer to their God. Among these busy moments, many people concentrate on praying, and make wishes for the New Year.
There are many food, drink and snack vendors on the street. Some of the interesting food you can see in the picture is chestnut and poa. After completing all the necessary activities for paying homage, people are always eating or snacking.
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