As you may know, the “Spring Festival”, commonly known as the “Chinese New Year” is fast approaching… Based on the lunar calendar, this celebration is considered as one of the most important in the country that takes place between January and February. It is at the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing, China, that the date is determined. This year, the celebration will take place on Saturday, January 28th, 2017. We will then have to say goodbye to the year of the Monkey and welcome the year of the Rooster…
Coloured parades and lion dances, concerts, cultural and artistic exhibitions… This is what awaits you for the next few days. For many people, the event remains above all an opportunity to come together with the family to celebrate this new year. During this period of festivities, all shops are closed and public transports, streets and hotels are crowded.
The Chinese New Year is not only celebrated in China, but it is also celebrated in several Asian countries such as Vietnam (Têt Festival), Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and of course Thailand !
Some rules and traditions…
- Elders distribute red envelopes containing money to the younger ones.
- New Year’s Eve is very filling. Generally, the preparation begins the day before the party and the dishes are cooked on the same day. More than a dozen different dishes are shared on the table.
- The tradition is that firecrackers are blown up to keep evil spirits away.
- As a sign of respect for the ancestors, a ceremony of food offerings is organised (cakes, fruit, wine…)
- To please the ancestors, people send them “gifts” to the afterlife by burning fake notes.
- The red color is a sign of good luck and fortune. Traditionally, people wear red accessories or a red coat to protect themselves from a possible misfortune.
• 2017 … on the way to the rooster year!
The Chinese calendar is represented by 12 animals: rat (or mouse), beef, tiger, rabbit (or hare), dragon, snake, horse, goat (goat or sheep), monkey, rooster, dog and pig. According to the legend, at his death, Buddha summoned the animals to come to him in order to bless them and take them with him to Nirvana. The first 12 animals that came were selected and gratified to govern each one year of a 12-year cycle, the Jupiterian cycle.
In 2017, we enter the year of the rooster, which is linked to one of the five cosmogony elements: fire. According to Chinese astrology, people born under the sign of the rooster are considered as workers, resourceful, courageous, talented and have a great confidence in themselves. They are energetic, fun and enjoy bonding with others. Open, honest and loyal, they like to place themselves at the center of attention and say things as they think.
Lucky colours: gold, brown, yellow
Lucky numbers: 5, 7, 8
Years of birth: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Maximum affinity: with buffalo, dragon and snake
Minimal affinity: with the rabbit and the dog
• Where do the festivities take place in Thailand?
In Bangkok: Every year, the biggest celebration takes place in the district of Yoawarat, the Chinatown of the Thai capital. However, due to the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October 2016, the latter will not be cancelled but will take place in Lumpini Park. Parades, acrobatic performances, small concerts, food stands and exhibitions will be there !
In Nakhon Sawan (north of Bangkok): Even if the festivities will be more discreet following the loss of the “Father of the Thai people”, it is at Nakhon Sawan that celebrations will inflame the streets, accompanied by gigantic parades, Lion dances and music very joyfully !
In Phuket: The Chinese community is also very important in this city located in the south of Thailand. The Chinese New Year will be held in the old city. For the occasion, Thalang Road, Krabi Road, Dibuk Road and Phang Nga Road will be closed to traffic for three days.
In Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai is one of the favorite destinations of Chinese tourists to celebrate the New Year. It is in the Chinatown near the Warorot Market that will take place colorful parades, Chinese cultural shows, lanterns, exhibitions, competitions of Miss and Mister Tai Chi and Qichong …
• The Chinese community in Thailand
The Chinese New Year is celebrated throughout the country for a simple and logical reason: a large part of the population in cities has Chinese origins. It is estimated that about 14% of the Thai population is of Chinese ancestry, which explains why this Chinese community has a significant influence in the country.