Happy Chinese New Year 2016!

Chinese New Year is a popular festivity in Thailand since there are many people with Chinese ancestors in Thailand. Actually, it is supposed that over half of ethnic Thai today are descendants of people who migrated from southern China about 1,000 years ago. In Thai, Chinese New Year is called ‘Wan dtrut jiin’ and it is also known as the Spring Festival.

Chinese New Year 2016

This year, Chinese New Year is on 8th February, this is when the year of the monkey begins.

Year of the monkey 2016 (photo: savingstips.com.ph)

Year of the monkey 2016 (photo: savingstips.com.ph)

The monkey is connected with the elements water and metal. Whereas water is connected with wisdom and danger, metal is related to gold and fortune. Thus the year of the monkey is supposed to be a year of financial events, flux and change. This also means that things can be accomplished but mainly by individual and personal efforts. Hence, this year might also be a good year to break free and to follow one’s passion and heart’s desire.

In Thailand, the centre of the Chinese New Year festivities are Chinatown on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok and Phuket Town. For instance,  the Old Phuket Festival takes place in the old Sino-Portuguese quarter of Phuket Town every year.

The shrine at Thien Fah Foundation during Chinese New Year. Samphanthawong District, Bangkok, Thailand (photo: Lerdsuwa, wikimedia.org)

The shrine at Thien Fah Foundation during Chinese New Year. Samphanthawong District, Bangkok, Thailand (photo: Lerdsuwa, wikimedia.org)

Traditionally, families clean their houses in order to get rid of any misfortune and bad luck so that there can be a fresh start into the new year. Hence, they make way for incoming luck and this is also called ‘Spring cleaning’.

On the eve of Chinese New Year, families have supper together and feast on Chinese dishes and delicacies like duck, chicken, pork and sweets. The night is ended with fireworks and on the following morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a happy new year. The children will then receive the so-called lucky money in red envelopes which are called ‘Ang Pao’. Usually, the married people will give money to the unmarried who are mostly younger people and children.

Lucky money in a red envelope

‘Ang Pao’ Lucky money in a red envelope

During the Chinese New Year festivities, the Dragon and the Lion dance are the most popular highlights. In particular, the dragon is supposed to bring good luck since he is believed to posses qualities like power, fertility, dignity and wisdom. Thus, the longer the dancing dragon is, the more luck and power he brings to people.

Chinese New Year decorations and the Merlion statue, Sentosa, Singapore (photo: wikimedia.org)

Chinese New Year decorations and the Merlion statue, Sentosa, Singapore (photo: wikimedia.org)

Finally, I’d like to share with you this entertaining video about 10 facts you might not know about the Chinese New Year 🙂

I wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!  (‘I wish you wealth’)

Yours, Sirinya




The Golden Buddha Image at Wat Traimit in Chinatown

I went to see the Golden Buddha Image at Wat Traimit in Bangkok’s Chinatown about two years ago. I was very deeply impressed by the Golden Buddha. In fact, so much impressed that I nearly forgot taking photos of the Buddha and of Chinatown itself 😉

Wat Traimit*

Wat Traimit, check out the full name of this temple*

After strolling around in Chinatown, I went to Wat Traimit Witthayaram where the Golden Buddha Image is located. Hence, across the main entrance of Wat Traimit you find the prominent Odeon circle and the archway to Chinatown.

Entrance of Wat Traimit*

Entrance of Wat Traimit*

To come back to the the Golden Buddha, it is in fact the largest Golden Buddha statue in the world and more than 700 years old. The Buddha’s official name is Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon (in Thai: พระพุทธมหาสุวรรณปฏิมากร). Thus, the Golden Buddha is in the Mara conquering attitude which is the typical artistic style of Sukhothai (i.e the period from the 13th century to the beginning of the 15th century). What is more, the Buddha’s head is egg-shaped which is also a typical feature of the Sukhothai period. Consisting of pure gold, this Buddha Image is unrivalled in size, value and beauty. It is more than 15 feet high and weights about 5,5 tons. The price value is 28,5 million pounds.

Golden Buddha Image

The Golden Buddha image*

The Golden Buddha Image*

As a matter of fact, the Golden Buddha is one of the most valuable treasure of Thailand and of Buddhism. In addition, the temple also has some fine and stunning architecture to offer.

Amazing architecture inside the temple*

Amazing architecture inside the temple*

It is important to note that the Buddha was originally covered with plaster in order to hide and conceal it from invading enemies. In the third reign of the Chakkri Dynasty, the Golden Buddha was installed in the main temple building of Choti-naram Temple which is also known as Wat Phrayakrai in Yannawa District, Bangkok.

Inside the Wat Traimit museum*

Inside the Wat Traimit museum*

In the early 1930s, the Buddha was moved to Wat Traimit Witthayaram Temple by the East Asian Company. However, it was first in 1955 that people discovered that the Buddha was made of pure gold. When the Buddha was moved into the building, part of the covering plaster cracked and that was when the Golden Buddha Image was discovered!

Mythical lion guardian in front of the temple*

Mythical lion guardian in front of the temple*

Since the Golden Buddha statue was discovered very close to the commemoration of the twenty-fifth Buddhist Era, i.e. 2500 years since Gautama Buddha’s passing, the Thai news media was full of reports and hence it is no wonder that many Buddhists regarded the occurrence as miraculous.

The new building at Wat Traimit, Chinatown, Bangkok*

The new building at Wat Traimit, Chinatown, Bangkok*

Hence, the Buddha at Wat Traimit has been treasured for its historical, artistic and cultural values. When I went to this temple, my aunt gave to me a silver necklace with a small Golden Buddha pendant. I truly love this necklace and have been wearing it nearly every day since I’ve got it.

Have you ever been to Bangkok to see the Golden Buddha Image at Wat Traimit? Is not it majestic? 🙂

The temple bells*

The temple bells*

You may also want to check out the official site of Wat Traimit here for some more information. By the way, another popular Buddha Image in Bangkok is the Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho.

Yours, Sirinya

(*photo credit: Amporn Konglapumnuay)




Happy Chinese New Year in Thailand!

Chinese New Year is a very popular festivity in Thailand because there are many people with Chinese ancestors in Thailand. In point of fact, over half of ethnic Thai today are descendants of people who migrated from southern China about 1,000 years ago (source: Wikipedia). In Thai, Chinese New Year is called ‘Wan dtrut jiin’ and it is also known as the Spring Festival.

This year, New Year is on 19th February, this is when the year of the goat begins. The festivities last for five days from 17th to 21st February.

The year of the goat is supposed to be a harmonious and calm year. In fact, I was born in the year of the goat 😉 Hence, I hope this will be a lucky, harmonic and successful year for me too!

Chinese New Year

goat-year chinese new yearYear of the goat

Centre of the New Year festivities in Thailand are Chinatown on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok, Phuket Town and Chiang Mai.

chinese new year thailandLions in front of Siam Paragon Bangkok

Celebrations in Thailand & ‘Lions’ in front of Siam Paragon in Bangkok (photo credit: Bangkok Post)

Traditionally, families clean their houses in order to get rid of any misfortune so that there can be a fresh start into the new year. Hence, they make way for incoming luck. This is also known as ‘Spring cleaning’.

On the eve, families have supper together and feast on Chinese dishes and delicacies like duck, chicken, pork and sweets. The night is ended with fireworks and on the following morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a happy new year. The children will then receive the so-called lucky money in red envelopes which are called ‘Ang Pao’.

Lucky money, red envelopeRed envelope for lucky money

Usually, the married people will give money to the unmarried who are mostly younger people and children.

During the New Year celebrations in Thailand, the Dragon and the Lion dance are the most popular highlights. In particular, the Dragon is supposed to bring good luck since the Dragon is believed to posses qualities like power, fertility, dignity and wisdom. Thus, the longer the dancing Dragon is, the more luck and power it brings to people.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) invites everyone this year to visit Chinatown in order to celebrate the Lunar New Year at Yaowarat.  The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration wants people to learn about the history of Yaowarat road on 19th and 20thFebruary 2015. Tomorrow, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening ceremony at Chalermphrakiat Gate, Odeon Circle, Yaowarat Road.

chinese new year thailanddragon chinese new year tourism authority of Thailand

Dragon Dance (photo credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand) 

Finally, I’d like to round off my post by sharing with you a recipe on how to make Rice Cakes for this occasion 🙂

Along these lines, I wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!  (‘I wish you wealth’)

By the way, the Thai New Year (Songkran) takes place in April 🙂

Yours,

Sirinya