Chinese New Year culture is filled with holidays and celebrations, the Lunar New Year being the biggest. Not only is it the largest mass movement of people in the world, it is also one of the globe’s most colorful and glamorous celebrations.
Thailand is known as being home to the largest overseas Chinese community in the world. It is also the oldest, most prominent overseas Chinese community, therefore Chinese New Year is very important in the country. During this time many of the rituals, like dragon dances and even the special food eaten are imbued with magical meaning. This month, we invites you to take a look at some of the most widely observed customs that frame 5,000 years of Chinese history, mythology, cuisine, spirituality, business and imperial reigns. Of course, the number of ancestral New Year traditions is counted by hundreds but here are some traditions that you will see everywhere and might like to join in.
1 Seeing Red
The color scheme is red. For clothes, decorations and cards this beautiful shade of scarlet is everywhere. The meaning of red color is luck and goes back to an old story where a monster was afraid of noise and the color of blood.
2 Time of Renewal
Chinese New Year is also a time of renewal and a springboard to make fresh start. That is why it is also called the Spring Festival. A few days before the new year is the big cleaning day and Chinese people will only wear new clothes on the first day of the year.
3 Dancing with Dragons
The dance of the dragon is pretty famous. This symbol of prosperity, rain, wind and emperors, winds its way through the streets to the rhythm of pounding drums and crashing * cymbals. The dragon is also believed to bring good luck to people. In Chiang Mai, you will be able to witness Chinese New Year celebrations and traditions at Warorot market, which is also the home of China Town and two beautiful Chinese temples. In the evening, the street along Ping river will be closed to cars allowing street vendors and celebrations. Another evening celebration point will be at Thapae Gate.
Every Thai-Chinese family has an altar in their home. One day before the Chinese New Year, offerings are prepared early in the morning for the ceremony. All the sacrifices, including scrumptious dishes, desserts and fruits are displayed on the altar. After all family members have worshiped their ancestors one by one, they eat the blessed sacrifices in the evening, the most important meal of Chinese New Year.
5 Visiting Friends and relatives
A special way for people to express good wishes to each other, and an important activity during the festival is to visit friends and relatives, most of the time with a bag of oranges.
Chinese New Year in Chiang Mai, the focus of the celebrations will be the Chinese temple at the Warorot market (Kad Luang), by the Ping River. There is also a photographic and art exhibition tracing the history of the Chinese community and the Warorot market. This will take place at Trok Lao Cho, one of the old wooden shophouses at the bottom of Tha Pae Road, adjacent to the market. Still, the celebration is more sedate than seen in other foreign countries, and only recently is perceived as an opportunity for tourists and local non-Chinese Thai people to participate in some way.