A number of areas in Thailand have welcomed in the Chinese New Year over the last few days. February 8 marked the start of the Year of the Monkey which will last until January 27th, 2017. With a sizeable percentage of the Thai population able to claim Chinese heritage, there have been colourful celebrations in various parts of Thailand including Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Phuket, Trang and Udon Thani.
Chinese New Year decorations in Chiang Mai Chinatown district
Year of the Monkey
The monkey is the ninth of the twelve animals in the 12-year zodiac cycle. According to Chinese astrology, those born in the year of the monkey are intelligent and sharp-witted. They are also said to be mischievous and have a quick temper. Famous people born under the monkey sign include Tom Hanks, Will Smith and Diana Ross. Historical figures born in the Year of the Monkey include Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci and Charles Dickens.
Year of the Monkey t-shirt for sale in Waworot Market, Chiang Mai
Celebrating New Year three times
There are many Thai people who will actually celebrate New Year three times. December 31 and January 1 are public holidays in Thailand with parties, special events and religious services taking place throughout the country. The second celebration for the Chinese New Year falls in January or February depending on the lunar calendar. Although Chinese New Year isn’t a public holiday, there are plenty of Thais who will mark the occasion. But the biggest New Year celebration and main holiday of the year in Thailand arrives in the middle of April with Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year Festival.