Chinese New Year in Bangkok

13 February 2018, Joanna Lodge

Although it is not recognised as a national holiday, Chinese New Year is a huge celebration, with around 9 million Chinese nationals living in Thailand, and some 50% of the Thai population that can account for some element of Chinese ancestry.

And, there’s no escaping the fact that Thailand LOVES a party!

So, you can imagine how extravagant and exciting the festivities are, especially here in Bangkok. Chinese New Year falls on 16 February this year. The Chinese calendar dictates that the New Year will be the Year of the Dog, so those born between 16 February 2018 and 4 February 2019 will, according to the Chinese Zodiac, acquire personal traits such as loyalty and honesty, with an easy-going nature.

The celebration itself is a very family orientated one, and encourages everyone to stop work, even housework, for one day.

Chinatown or Yaowarat is where it’s at and here’s what’s happening this year.

With street shows and a huge carnival-like atmosphere, you can eat like kings while soaking up a huge array of cultural delights from food to music, story telling to poetry. Make sure you dress in red and gold to show respect to the community while sharing in their celebrations.

The main 4-lane street will be closed and turned into a huge celebratory area that will enlighten every sense you have, and some you possibly didn’t know about. It is safe and, apart from the crowds, child friendly, with the key nature of the whole festival being about good luck, good will and good fortune.

The celebrations begin officially on the 16th, New Year’s Eve, however, there will also be smaller flickers of excitement happening on the 15th. This is more of a daytime affair with no particular schedule but you can get a sense of culture and tradition from the less crowded streets, with lower key performances. It is traditional for families to spend the evening of New Year’s Eve with their families so after the lanterns are lit at dusk it’s time to head home and prepare for the full celebrations on the 16th.

The schedule for 16 February 2018 at Yaowarat is as follows:

  • 12pm – START, stalls and decorations set up, music play
  • 3pm – The start of the dance parades on Yaowarat Road
  • 5:45pm – Fan Dance
  • 7pm – Golden Dragon Dance
  • 8:20pm – Fan Dance
  • 8:30pm – A selection of Thai singers and dancers at the stage near Chinatown Gate and go off and on until midnight
  • 9:30pm – The Dragon Parade
  • 10:50pm – Traditional Drummers
  • Midnight – Xin Nian Hao (Happy New Year)

Enjoy the day. Celebrate with family and loved ones, and Happy New Year to our Chinese and Thai-Chinese community!

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