CHIANGRAI TIMES– Thailand’s tourism ambiance during the Chinese Lunar New Year festival drew large numbers of Thai and foreign travellers streaming into the northern province of Chiang Rai.
Cool weather in the northernmost province of Chiang Rai attracted a large number of visitors during the Chinese New Year. Many tourists visited the Mae Fah Luang Garden to enjoy decorative plants and winter flowers.
The Lunar Chinese New Year is one of the most important occasions in Thailand, particularly among ethnic Chinese Thai people
The Chinese New Year or Trut Chin in Thai is a festival of thanksgiving and ancestor worship, and a time of family reunion. It was brought into Thailand when the Chinese migrated here late in the Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767 A.D.). The festival means so much to the Chinese and the Thais of Chinese descent the same way as the Christmas means to the Westerners
The Chinese in Thailand have been harmoniously assimilated into the Thais but they have passed on their traditions and customs up to the present time as is evidenced by the fact that one of their festivals, Trut Chin, has been observed continuously for a long time. It has become one of the most exciting and spectacular celebrations in Thailand.
The Chinese New Year is the first day of the Chinese lunar month which is regarded as the first day of the spring season (the Chun season in Chinese; roughly from February to April which is the time to start growing plants). During these months, the weather is excellent. Thus, Trut Chin is called “Chun Jie” Day in Chinese. As China is an agricultural country, at the beginning of the growing season, there is a ritual to pay homage to gods and goddesses as well as ancestors to ask for a good harvest.
A few days before New Year’s Eve, the Chinese will do a big cleaning. When the New Year begins, they will have days off to perform a ritual to worship gods, goddesses and ancestors. Besides, they usually take this opportunity to pay visits to their senior relatives and go on vacations. This practice is the origin of the terms “Buying day, Worshipping day and Observing day.
Buying, Worshipping and Observing Days
“Buying day” is the day before New Year’s Eve. People who have not yet finished shopping or preparing things need to finish doing it within the “Buying day” as after this day, shops will close for several days.
“Worshipping day” is the day that each house performs rituals to worship their ancestors. It is on this day that the whole family gather together and red envelopes containing money as gifts or angpao are given away. In the morning, they worship the gods of land and the ancestors in the afternoon.
“Observing day” is Trut Chin day or New’s Year’s Day. On this day everybody will do and say only auspicious things. During the festival, the Thais of Chinese descent will wear red clothes which are believed to bring blessing. There is also a prohibition against sweeping the floor for they fear that the luck and blessing will be swept away.
This “observing day” is sometimes called “going out” day. It derived from the fact that when the children and employees get angpao, they will go out to have fun.
In addition, during the festival, the Chinese have a custom to take four oranges with them when visiting their senior relatives. The orange in the Chinese language is called “kik” meaning good luck. So, an exchange of oranges means an exchange of blessing.