Firecrackers have heralded the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year which is widely celebrated in Thailand. The Year of the Rabbit is supposed to be a placid year with the rabbit linked with happiness and good fortune. Thailand is a country where superstition and ancient beliefs play a significant part in everyday life and there will be plenty of Thai people happy to see the back of the ferocious Year of the Tiger. During 2010, Thailand experienced violent street protests, political disputes and natural disasters in the form of flooding which affected large parts of the country.
With an estimated 14% of Thailand’s population able to claim Chinese heritage, the Lunar New Year can be quite a colourful affair in different areas of Thailand including Phuket Town, Bangkok’s Chinatown and Chiang Mai’s Waworot Market area. Although the Chinese New Year isn’t a public holiday in Thailand, some businesses and restaurants do close.
If you are in Thailand at the moment, don’t be surprised to hear firecrackers in the morning and fireworks at night. Traditional ang pao (red money envelopes) may be exchanged whilst the Lion Dance procession is believed to bring good fortune to those businesses who pay money to the performers.
photo © thaizer.com