Chinese New Year Festival

Celebrations around Thailand – Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Pattaya, Chon Buri province, Phuket, Hat Yai and Songkhla

chinese new year Chinese New Year 2007 Procession of the Golden Dragon

BANGKOK CHINA TOWN FESTIVAL 2007
FEBRUARY 18 — 19, 2007

In Bangkok’s China Town — Yawarat, Sampantawong district
Along Trimitr Road, The King’s Birthday Celebration Arch to Ratchawong intersection

Traditional celebrations are staged every Chinese New Year to pay tribute the mythical Golden Dragon — the guardian spirit that has watched over Yawarat for centuries, and to whom residents of the community believe they owe their good fortune, wealth and prosperity. The Golden Dragon is thus accorded an exalted status in ritual, as well as in everyday life.

To commemorate these milestones in history, Bangkok’s Yawarat district or ‘China Town’, Bangkok’s legendary Thai-Chinese community, is hosting its grandest celebration.

NAKHON RATCHASIMA CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL 2007
FEBRUARY 18 — 19, 2007

At Thao Suranaree Plaza

  • Lion Dance
  • Procession of the Golden Dragon
  • Sino-Thai procession by Chinese associations in Nakhon Ratchasima
  • “Dressed in Red” fashion show
  • Concerts
  • “Ang Pow” gifts of cash
  • A range of festive entertainment
  • Food stalls, shopping opportunities and other activities

NAKHON SAWAN CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL 2007
The Fascinating Realm of the Golden Dragon
FEBRUARY 11 — 12, 2007

Chinese New Year festivities will be held along the banks of the Chao Phraya River at Sawan Nongsomboon Park and Kosi Road in the city centre.

The Chao Por-Chao Mae Pak Nam Pho fair and procession, organised by Thais of Chinese ancestry in Nakhon Sawan Province during the Chinese New Year, is held in honour of Chao Poh Pak Nam Pho, a highly revered deity, hence the origins of its name. The event has been held annually.

This famous festival and grand celebration with the procession of a statue of Chao Por Pak Nam Pho, impressive displays of dragon and lion dances, cultural performances such as the Chinese opera and acrobatics, offers a colourful spectacle and is a popular attraction among Thais and foreigners.

The dragon and the lion, both considered to be symbols of good luck and good fortune and prominently featured as the royal regalia in the imperial courts of ancient China, are deemed to be central elements of auspicious rituals and events. The practice vividly demonstrates the faith and unity of local people and long-established cultural ties.

In addition to providing an opportunity for shopping, the Chao Por Pak Nam Po Fair offers insight into the local way of life.

CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL — PHUKET PERANAGAN FESTIVAL
FEBRUARY 2007

  • Journey back in time to Phuket’s past
  • Peranagan Cultural Exhibition
    A cultural showcase of Phuket’s Peranagan (local born), their traditions and way of life, music, art and culture
  • Evolution of the Phuket Style of Dress Through the Decades
  • Costumes Contest
  • Traditional cultural performances from the Imperial Courts presented by the cultural troupe from the province of Xian
  • Lion Dance, Dragon Procession and processions from the Chinese shrines
  • Shopping and food stalls

HAT YAI CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL 2007
FEBRUARY 16– 18, 2007

At Sri Nakhon School, Hat Yai district, Songkhla

  • Cultural performances and presentations from the People’s Republic of China on January 31
  • Kung Fu martial arts from Guang Zhou province
  • World Championship Lion Dance and Dragon Procession from Guang Zhou province in China
  • Demonstration of Chinese customs, traditions and way of life including the presentation of ritual offerings at the family altar

CHIANG MAI CHINA TOWN CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
FEBRUARY 16 – 18, 2007

Vararos Market — Lao Jo Street

  • Cultural performances and presentations from the People’s Republic of China and Lanna cultural performances and presentations of Northern Thailand in honour of His Majesty the King
  • Lion Dance, Dragon Procession and other traditional Chinese cultural performances
  • Demonstrations of martial arts
  • Exhibitions
  • Kid’s Contests
  • Chinese Food Fest
Customs & Traditions

Sino-Thai trade and cultural ties span the centuries. In times past, sea-farers, marine merchants and traders sailed up the kingdom’s rivers with vessels laden with merchandise and precious goods including Chinese tea, silk and fine porcelain.As trade between the two countries flourished, permanent settlements of peoples of various ethnic Chinese origin particularly Cantonese, Tae Chiew, Hainan (Hakka) were soon established along the river banks. Early immigrants and settlers quickly adapted to their new way of life and adopted Thai ways.However they continued to maintain strong cultural ties and practiced the customs and traditions diligently observed by their forefathers. Of these, the celebration of the Chinese New Year remains the most important of annual festivals on the Chinese lunar calendar observed in the various regions of Thailand as well as in various countries around the world.Such riverside communities, former trading hubs, still exist today, the most famous of these being Bangkok’s ‘China Town’ or Yawarat, and the Pak Nam Pho community on the estuary of Pho River in Nakhon Sawan province, noted for its ritual processions. Here, the Chinese New Year celebrations are held over a period of four days as traditionally observed.While a variety of contemporary elements have been incorporated through the passage of time, Chinese New Year celebrations throughout Thailand are a reminder of the rich cultural and artistic legacy and wealth of history preserved in these ‘living museums’. All traditional Chinese New Year celebrations feature the following:

Fire-Crackers

    The lighting of fire-crackers to chase away evil spirits, particularly those causing sickness as well as to bring good fortune. Additionally, it was believed that the fire-crackers would awaken the deities and guardian spirits who are the custodians of good health, good fortune and prosperity and watch over the well-being of the people in the community.

The Lion Dance

    The traditional ‘Lion Dance’ is a masked dance. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, the lion is associated with qualities such as courage, stability and superiority.From modest beginnings as an opening act or prelude that preceded the main act in stage performances, the Lion Dance grew in stature during the Sung dynasty.The Lion Dance was performed during warfare in which it was used as an effective ‘weapon’ of war. Frightened by the intolerable din of clashing cymbals and drums that accompanies the Lion Dance, armies were soon left in a fray as horses and elephants of enemy forces fled the scene. Subsequently during the Ming dynasty, the Lion was performed to chase away ghosts and evil spirits. It became a natural complement to the lighting of fire-crackers.

Procession of the Golden Dragon

    The Procession of the Mythical Golden Dragon evolved into a spectacular presentation in the Han dynasty. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, the mythical Golden Dragon is endowed with awesome powers. The source of the elements — water, wind and fire, and the custodian of the seasons, the Golden Dragon is the source of life and prosperity. It is believed that individuals who come into contact with the Golden Dragon are blessed with some of this vital force and good luck and good fortune in life and success is bestowed upon them.Given its acrobatic nature, the performance of the Dragon Procession requires a level of physical fitness and dexterity. The awe-inspiring procession ends with the Golden Dragon climbing up a pole to retrieve the ‘Ang Pow’ or red envelope tied to the end of the pole. Traditionally, coins were placed in the ‘Ang Pow’ hence if the ‘dragon’ successfully retrieves the red envelope, the act signifies good luck throughout the new year.

The worship of Chinese deities, guardian spirits and ancestor worship are also central elements of Chinese New Year celebrations. Offerings are made in the hope of bestowing a good life, good times, health, wealth, prosperity as well as longevity in the New Year.

It is believed that when one’s parents and elderly relatives have passed on, they continue to exist in a spiritual realm and become guardian spirits who watch over the welfare and well-being of surviving family members but only for as long as they are remembered, honoured and appeased by descendants. Hence periodic ritual offerings are made throughout the year as a gesture of remembrance, gratitude and appreciation of one’s ancestors.

The Chinese New Year is the most auspicious occasion for doing so as special effort being made during this critical time positively influences one’s good fortune and fate in the new year.

Four-Day Chinese New Year Celebrations

The FIRST Day
The first day of the Chinese New Year, referred to as “Chiew It” in the Chinese dialect, is a day of remembrance and thanksgiving as family members demonstrate their gratitude and indebtedness to the spiritual forces that watch over them, bestow good fortune and happy times and protect them from evil or harm. The entire family engages in spring-cleaning of the home and family altar; shop for and prepare ritual offerings. The New Year being a time for renewal and a time for starting afresh, altars and shrines in the home are cleaned and new ritual offerings are presented.

The SECOND Day
The second day of the Chinese New Year or “Chiew Yee”, is a day of festive celebrations. Ties between families and friends are renewed as each visits the other and exchanges of auspicious gifts are exchanged. Younger members of the family receive gifts of ‘ang pow’ or red envelopes in which coins (now replaced by bank notes) are placed. Red being symbolic of happiness and good luck, the ‘ang pow’ are believed to bring good luck throughout the new year.

The THIRD Day
The third day is the day for the procession of the Chinese deities and guardian spirits and the Procession of the Golden Dragon.

The FOURTH Day
Processions on the fourth day of the celebrations feature marching bands, a flag procession, the Lion Dance of the various ethnic groups such as Cantonese, Tae Chiew and Hainan Chinese communities, the Golden Dragon Procession, the Procession of the Goddess Kuan Im and other deities and guardian spirits, angels and celestial beings.Performances presented during the Chinese New Year celebrations include classical Chinese music and dance, performances of Chinese opera, traditional and folk cultural performances, stage drama and theatrical performances. Other forms of entertainment includes the screening of Chinese films in open-air theatres, as well as contemporary musical and stage performances and contests.

Note: Event dates and programme details may be subject to change. To ensure you have the most updated information, please reconfirm details prior to travel.

Contact: Tourism Authority of Thailand – http://www.tat.or.th/

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