Chinese New Year In Bangkok
One of the best times of the year to visit Bangkok is during the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. The celebration is based on the Chinese Lunar calendar originating in 2698 BC. Each year is linked to an animal such as the Year of the Dragon or the Year of the Horse. The belief is the association with the animal years started when all of the animals were asked by Buddha to meet him on the Chinese New Year. Buddha named one year after each of the twelve animals that showed up. The year for each animal has rotated in a twelve-year cycle ever since. Your fortune is dependent on the sign or year of your birth.
There are three different purposes for the Chinese New Year festival, to bring good luck for the next year, to spend time with family and to celebrate the year being left behind. In most cases, every generation of the family travels together during the Chinese New Year. There are millions and millions of people travelling simultaneously. You will find a lot of excitement throughout Bangkok during this time. You will bring in the New Year with dragons, red shirts and loud drums to scare off the evil spirits. For three days, homes are cleansed to ensure good favour with the spirits and bring good luck.
The offerings include lighting candles, praying to the deities, giving family red envelopes containing even dollar amounts and burning incense. Fire is symbolised with firecrackers and drums to ward off Nian. According to ancient Chinese folklore, this demon serpent once ravaged the villagers. Most of the Bangkok events occur during the New Year period of three days. There are smaller events taking place through the fifteenth day of the new Lunar Year. This is called the Lantern Festival. The Chinese New Year is determined according to the lunar moon cycles. This always occurs from the end of January until the middle of February.
The three main days of the festival are Spring Festival Eve, the Chinese New Year and New Year's Day. Chinese New Year falls on the final day of the Lunar Year. The actual date changes due to the lunar base but is always between the 21st of January and the 20th of February.
Celebrating Chinese New Year in Bangkok
Chinatown is one of the best places for celebrating the Chinese New Year. In Thai, this is called Yaowarat. You will enjoy celebrations all day and all night. Several days before New Year's begins, there will be crowds forming at the shrines and temples to pray to the statues of the deities and the images of Buddha. One of the most popular shrines for visitors and residents alike is the Mangkon Kamalawat Temple or Leng Noei Yi. The main road is closed to vehicles to transform the road into a walking street. You will see street stalls selling delicious Chinese food and hot meals. You do not want to miss the cultural shows being performed on stages.
The parades of lion and dragon dancers marching on the road are spectacular. The night sky is illuminated with fireworks as a part of the boisterous celebrations. One of the best celebrations in all of China takes place in Bangkok. The next Chinese New Year is the Year of the Pig. Travel to Bangkok for a celebration lasting for sixteen days. Three of the most important activities are called Going Out Day, Praying Day and Shopping Day. Shopping Day occurs the last day prior to New Year's Eve. This is when everyone shops for God offerings and food. The Chinese markets are filled with people getting what they need to prepare the big feast.
Praying day is the day of New Year's Eve. Families pray to their ancestor spirits and Gods while enjoying magnificent meals at home. The adults place pocket money in ang-pao or red envelopes as gifts for the children. Some families prefer to remain at home relaxing while others visit their relatives and extended families. The women generally wear colourful clothing called qi-pao. They exchange oranges for luck while wishing one another a prosperous and happy new year. To help ensure good fortune, conversations about death or illness and arguments are avoided.
Spectacular Bangkok Events
While in Bangkok for the Chinese New Year, take the time to see the festivities in Chinatown. The smaller celebrations the day before and after are a lot of fun. You will see Chinese decorations and lanterns hung on Yaowarat Road for fifteen days after the celebration to signify the end of the Chinese New Year. The final day is the Lantern Festival. Once you arrive you will understand why traffic on the main street has been blocked. The festivities are enormous with the sidewalks filled with both locals and visitors. The experience of being on the four lanes of Yaowarat Road and participating in the festivities is amazing.
During the day you will see drummers and lion dancers, enjoy delicious Chinese food and have vendors try to help you increase you luck for the new year. If you want to visit the temples, your best option is during midday. After this, they will become extremely crowded. You will be enchanted as the activities really take off around 3 p.m. This is when the Dragon Parades begin. Watching the traditional Thai and Chinese dancers join the dragon and work their way through Yaowarat Road is fascinating. The tail of the dragon is a lot longer than the typical dragon outfit for two people. This dragon requires dozens of individuals to operate and is 100's of feet in length.
One of the Royal Thai families usually participates in the evening Dragon Parade. The loud cheers of the Thai nationals are thrilling. The people of Bangkok have a lot of respect for the culture of China. You will see the national pride in those with Chinese heritage for Thailand. Once the sun has set, the hanging Chinese lanterns are lit to enhance the beauty of the celebration even further. After dark, traditional dancers and musicians perform on the stage by the Chinatown Gate. Acrobats with firecrackers on their feet spin on top of poles forty feet high. You will notice there are not as many fireworks as you saw during the Chinese New Year in Bangkok.
The Dragon Parade during the evening is incredible as LED lights are lit to bring the dragon to life. A large pyramid of people holds the dragon up high on the main stage when the battle with the acrobat on a tall pole commences. This battle symbolises the people fighting off Nian, the demon serpent. This is meant to scare off any bad luck for the new year. If you prefer a quieter celebration than Yaowarat Road, the majority of the main temples around and in Chinatown offer the true feeling of Chinese New Year. A lot of these temples have been beautifully decorated for the arrival of the Thai Princesses.
Two of the best places to visit during Chinese New Year are right across the Choa Phraya River. These are the Mang Nguan Ha Shrine and the Wat Arun. Both temples are quite beautiful at dusk due to the wide assortment of lanterns used during this time of year to bring them new life. If you prefer to remain closer to Chinatown, the Dragon Flower Temple and the Kuan Yim Shrine are magical during Chinese New Year. There is usually a sea of incense smoke inside of the Dragon Flower Temple but there is a special feeling at this time.
While you are taking photographs, take the time to appreciate the smells and sounds of the Dragon Flower Temple. To feel like you are a real part of the events, purchase incense and a candle to light so you have an offering. You can even purchase Joss paper banknotes if you want to burn something exceptionally special. The most important thing you can do is make memories in Bangkok during the Chinese New Year to take back home.
Details of the Bangkok Celebrations
The eve of the Chinese New Year is on January 24th of 2020. You will experience small parades and numerous events all over Chinatown throughout the day and evening. None of these events have a set schedule including the dragon dancers and acrobatic demonstrations. Everything is building up for the big event the following day. Reunion dinners are hosted by many of the homes during the evening for visiting family members. This is when the children are given the special red envelopes often containing money.
Chinese New Year is on January 25th of 2020. This celebration is also referred to as the Spring Festival. The new lunar year begins with the full moon. During the course of the day, the long dragon, lion dancers and drummers proceed to all of Bangkok's major temples. The Wat Arun is extremely festive during the evening. The schedule for the Yaowarar events should be accurate and is detailed below.
- The official beginning of the celebration is at noon. Despite this, nearly everything is in place by 10 a.m.
- The first dragon parade begins at 3 p.m. on Yaowarat Road.
- The Fan Dance is at 5:45 p.m.
- The Golden Dragon Dance begins at 7 p.m.
- Another Fan Dance starts at 8:20 p.m.
- The Thai dancers and singers will be near the Chinatown Gate at 8:30 p.m. They will perform on the stage on and off until midnight.
- The dragon parade with the LED lights is at 9:30 p.m. You may be moved to the sidewalk by the police if one of the Thai Princesses is about to come through.
- There is a traditional drummer solo at 10:50 p.m.
- Xin Nian Hao or happy new year is of course at midnight.
New Year's Day is considered a day of rest. This occurs on January 26th of 2010. Even though most people spend the day with their families, you will still see a lot of people in Chinatown. Even though the majority of the festivities have ended, the air is still filled with energy.
The Lantern Festival is on February 9th of 2020 during the first full moon of the new year. This is the fifteenth day of the New Year festival as well as the end of the Spring Festival. You will see people lining the streets and in their doorways holding fancy lanterns. Some of the lanterns are extremely colourful while others display pieces of art similar to cartoon characters.
Bangkok Hotels for Chinese New Year
akyra Thonglor Bangkok Hotel is nestled between the exciting Sukhumvit Soi 55 and Petchaburi Road, the 148-key hotel offers studio rooms, plus 1, 2, and 3-bedroom serviced apartment suites, tapping into the trendy local aesthetic with a strong, contemporary design. The boutique en-suite bathrooms here are elaborately adorn with Ayurah amenity set offering aromatic sensation that whisks away stress and boosts a relaxing ambience. The self-contained sanctuaries are perfect for leisure travellers, while guests passing through on business will want for nothing with an adjacent lifestyle mall and 24-hour supermarket.
A complimentary shuttle service to Thong Lo BTS skytrain station encourages guests to dive headfirst into the dynamic Thai capital.
akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok Hotel is a stylish, innovative luxury boutique hotel located in the epicenter of Bangkok’s most dynamic tourism area on Sukhumvit Soi 20, a lively neighbourhood known for its fine restaurants and nightlife, as well as lifestyle malls, quality spas and green recreation spaces.
The 50-room akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok offers guests 30-60 square metre accommodation with rooms and suites styled to benefit form the surrounding cityscape views and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that slide open onto generous balconies.
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