New year is usually that time of the year where we say goodbye to the previous year and welcome a fresh and new year with arms wide open. With the current year coming to an end we also thank god for keeping not only keeping us, but also our friends and family, safe and sound; with a hope that the new year brings in much more happiness for all. New Year celebration traditions are different in every part of the world, each culture conducts celebrations in their own style. Thailand is no different from rest of the world, they have their own special style along with a special date for celebrations. Thai citizens follow the Chinese Calendar, in accordance to which they celebrate their festivals.
Yaowaraj, Bangkok, where the celebrations are carried out in huge style is also known as the city’s Chinatown. The entire lengths and breadths of the streets come to life, as everyone regardless of age, gender or even nationality becomes a part of the celebrations and festivities. Streets are filled with dragon dancers, worshipers, street food vendors, entertainers, flee markets and much more. Shopkeepers and a few restaurants put up special offers and discounts for the customers.
Celebrated every year around January and February, this event does not have a fixed date, i.e. dates change, and are calculated again according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Despite the fact that it is not a public holiday, the Chinese community in Bangkok usually takes a day or two off, to be part of the festivities. People visit their families and friends in order to exchange oranges and also wish them the best through the New Year. Elders hand over bright red colored envelopes to children, containing pocket money as a token of love and known as “ang-pao”.
A popular legend associated with the celebration of this festival is that a beast named “Niel” used to come and spread devastation around the town and harm its inhabitants. The locals later on started keeping food at their doorstep, bursting fire crackers, decorating their homes in red color and also wearing red clothes. As the Chinese New Year has become a considerably huge affair people of Chinese descent decorate their houses with posters, calligraphy banners and red lanterns.
Once celebrated only amongst the Chinese communities in Bangkok, today the Chinese New Year can be called as a festival meant for all. Be sure to make yourself a part of the spirit and enjoyment of the Chinese New Year by wearing red colored clothes.