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Chinese New Year on Koh Samui


Chinese New Year on Koh Samui
Chinese New Year on Koh Samui
Chinese New Year on Koh Samui
Chinese New Year on Koh Samui
Chinese New Year on Koh Samui
Chinese New Year on Koh Samui
Chinese New Year on Koh Samui

On Koh Samui we have many ethnic Chinese who consider themselves Thais, but, nevertheless keep on celebrating all the traditional Chinese festivals.
And the rest of the residents who are not of Chinese origin gladly take over the tradition and take part in all the beautiful and noisy festivities.

As usual during the celebration of the New Year from December 31 to January 1, even strangers greet and wish good health, peace and happiness to one another in the coming year. Children instead of gifts often receive red envelopes with money - a generally accepted symbol of good luck and happiness.

Since this holiday is the most important annual celebration for the Chinese, their diaspora around the world celebrates it at the maximum scale.
In those areas where the Chinese community is numerous and constitute a significant part of the population of the area it is declared as public holidays.
In Thailand, where there is an estimated population of about 14% ethnic Chinese, there is only one day officialy allocated for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

However, private Chinese owned firms can arrange a weekend festivities for the entire period. Since it is a family holiday, there is a mass migration going on around the country - people travel to see the family, back to their motherland, wherever that may be.

Each year the Chinese New Year falls on different dates, depending on the lunar calendar.
The celebrations of the Chinese New Year begin on the first day of the first month according to the lunar calendar and end with Lantern Festival which is celebrated exactly on the fifteenth day of the first month. Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival and the New Year according to the lunar calendar.

What does the celebration of the Chinese New Year looks like?

First, get ready for a lot of noise.
... The moving market and karaoke bars aren't "noise", but merely a warm up.
So stock up your earplugs, patience and understanding. Keep your positive attitude and have fun along with the people.

For example, this is what used to be a set of simultaneous explosions of firecrackers - the clapping has not stoped for a few minutes.

Secondly, the streets will be covered with a huge amount of items in red: red lanterns, red clothes ... Red is everywhere.
For the Chinese, red and orange (there is a tradition to give each other oranges and tangerines) - are happy colors, they symbolize wealth, happiness and longevity.
These are the words written in Chinese on lanterns and clothes.

On the eve of the main celebration (in the New Year of 2013 - the Year of the Snake – it will begin on 10 February and will end on January 30, 2014), Chinese families would gather together and carefully clean up the house, as if getting rid of the problems and worries of the past year. And then the whole family sits down at the dining table, which will definitely contain pork, chicken, duck and traditional Chinese sweets.
The evening ends with popping firecrackers which are supposed to drive the evil spirits away.
By the way, this loud tradition has been adopted by Thais from Chinese, and now more and more frequently during a birth celebration they start "chasing the spirits away" with firecrackers.

There is such rumble that people can not hear themselves, and the smell of sulfur hungs heavily in the air.

In public places there is a show being held with a dragon parade,

lion dances, acrobatics on stilts and high poles and with colorful fireworks.

Lion dance is a very beautiful sight.

Several participants of the show hide inside the body of the "lion". First, the lion is just walking down the street to the beat of the drums, "blessing" the crowd of onlookers. Then the lion comes to the site where there are special poles set for presentation.
It climbs up to the poles where it does the "dancing", showing the wonders of maintaining balance and demonstrating acrobatic stunts. All this happens under the deafening sound of the drums.


Well you might ask: "Why red, and why so much noise?"

There is a myth about a horned beast (probably a dragon) named Nian (Nian also means "year"), which on the New Year's Eve would come out of the depths of the sea and collect its tribute by eating villagers, mainly children and all the harvest.
And so it had been terrorizing the entire population until someone noticed that the monster is afraid of loud noises and avoids people in red clothes. So it became a tradition of New Year's Eve to paint houses in red, wear a bright red dress and use red firecrackers to scare the monster away.

The main festivities to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Koh Samui are traditionally held on Maenam, near the Chinese temple (Google coordinate 9.57038,99.997995), right in the same places where the Thursday "Walking Street" is being held.

In 2013, the show is also scheduled at the Chinese temple in Nathon (Hainan Tample), which is close to the pier (Google coordinate 9.534297,99.936986)

and at the new Chinese Temple of Guan Yu ("red-faced warrior") in Hua Thanon, right on the ring road (Google coordinate 9.445379, 100.024166)

A full schedule of events to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Koh Samui in 2013 is here.

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