Chinese New Year in Thailand
Many Thais can trace their ancestry back to China. As many as 14% of the population refer to themselves as Thai-Chinese, even though, as a group, they have been almost totally assimilated into the Thai cultural scene. However, nearly everyone is happy to take part in the celebrations for Chinese New Year, which this year takes place on Thursday, February 4. This year will be the year of the Rabbit. Unlike some neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, Chinese New Year is not a public holiday in Thailand and all government offices and banks will be open. A few Chinese-owned businesses may close, but most will not.
Chinese New Year Celebrations
This festival is celebrated with great pomp and show all over Thailand. Red is the most auspicious color for Chinese people and it will be seen everywhere. Colorful dragon dances and processions, enlivened by the noise of firecrackers, will provide good photo opportunities. The Chinese New Year celebrations will take place over several days. Thai-Chinese will begin their celebrations with a communal family meal on the eve of Chinese New Year as a way of joining the spirits of the past with the present day family. At midnight the doors and windows must be thrown open to let out the old year. The living rooms of Thai-Chinese people will be decorated with vases of flowers, plates of oranges and tangerines, and a tray of eight varieties of dried sweet fruit will be offered to visitors and well-wishers. Children and unmarried people will also be offered little red envelopes with money inside, called Ang Pao or Lai See, to ensure good fortune in the coming year.
Chinese New Year in Phuket
This year the city fathers of Phuket are planning a big, noisy Chinese New Year Festival, with many Chinese visitors from Malaysia, Singapore and, of course, China, expected to attend. The hotels and resorts on the island are already fully booked for the period from February 2 -8. The highlight of the celebrations in Phuket will be the Old Phuket Town Festival, held February 8 – 10. This is the twelfth anniversary of this popular festival, held in the old town along Thalang, Krabi and Phuket Roads, and also on the Soi Romanee. Soi Romanee and Thalang Road will be converted into walking streets for this festival. You can expect many colorful entertainments, including a Phuket Baba Light Show, a rickshaw tour around the streets, cultural parades, Chinese opera performances, Chinese folk dancing troupes and more.