- Jack Weinstein
- February 15, 2018
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Chinese New Year isn’t just celebrated in China. It’s celebrated all over the world, and while not a public holiday in Thailand, it’s enthusiastically celebrated in Bangkok’s Chinatown. The annual holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, occurs this year on Feb. 16 but the multi-day festivities start before and continue after the official celebration. In addition to ringing in the new year, the holiday is a time for Chinese families to come together.
For several days, Bangkok’s Chinatown, known as Yaowaraj, will be filled with people dressed in traditional red clothing, exploring the lantern-lit streets and visiting temples. There are dragon parades, firecrackers, acrobatic dancers, and of course, food!
The Days Before
Families clean their homes in preparation for visiting family and gather for reunion dinners. They eat, pay their respects to ancestors, and pray to the gods.
New Year’s Eve, Feb. 16
While there are a plethora of activities throughout the multi-day Spring Festival, on the day of New Year’s Eve, there are many parades that make their way through the streets and temples in Bangkok. The colorful dragon and Thai dancers take to the streets. The dragon, which can be hundreds of feet long, snakes its way through the streets of the festival. Later in the evenings after the sun sets, the streets illuminate dancers and musicians perform on the main stage. The celebrations all lead up to the Thai Princess closing out the parade.
Families gather to conclude the day’s festivities and parents give children ang pao, ornate red envelopes filled with money to wish them good luck for the upcoming year.
New Year’s Day, Feb. 17
New Year’s Day is less about the festivities and more about relaxing. Families will take off work to spend the day with their families, focusing on the good luck that this next year will potentially bring. For good luck, families give each other oranges.
The Lantern Festival, March 2
One of the most recognizable traditions of Chinese New Year is the Lantern Festival, which is the official end of the Spring Festival. Lanterns of all colors and shapes and sizes line the streets and hang from the homes of those celebrating to represent wishes for good fortune.
Traditions aren’t just restricted to the country that they originate from, which is part of the beauty of the world we live in—the ability to share them with friends and family all over the world. Chinese New Year in Bangkok is an important celebration, and the illumination of the festival shines a light on the importance of family and a positive mindset to bring luck to the new year!
Want to learn more about Thai cultural traditions? Request a copy of our free catalog for more info about teen travel programs this summer in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia.
Jack has spent his professional career as a writer and editor. Before joining Rustic, he worked as a journalist in Kansas and Colorado, taught English in Swaziland, and transitioned to marketing roles in the Boston and New York startup worlds. Jack is excited to channel his love of storytelling and his appreciation for education as Rustic’s Content Production Manager. When not working, Jack is either watching baseball or planning his next adventure. Jack and his wife, Blythe, live in Brooklyn.