According to Wikipedia, Thailand has the most overseas Chinese people in South East Asia. As of 2012, there are more than nine million Chinese people or 14% of Thai’s population, living in major cities in Thailand. The Thai-Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year, more widely known as the Chinese New Year, with fanfare and colorful display of cultural performances especially in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Every year, this special occasion is graced by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
For Chinese New Year which falls on 31 January in 2014, there will be spectacular performances such as lion dance, food fare, art display and lots of merriment from Bangkok up north to Chiangmai, and to the south as far as Songkhla.
As would Chinese everywhere in the world, there are many practices to create harmony in the flow of energy during the New Year celebration. Even in the food they choose to eat, each dish must signify good fortune and bring in good vibes for the year to come. These are some of the suggestions for the ‘auspicious’ foods to consider for the coming.
Year of the Wood Horse:
- Cook shrimp – it is pronounced as ‘ha’ in cantonese, it brings laughter and good cheer.
- Lettuce – this vegetable signifies prosperity as it is called ‘sang choy’, literally means ‘grow wealth’.
- Cook fish – preferably in whole as the word for fish in Chinese is a homophone for ‘surplus’, always having more.
- Eat noodles – as they represent long life especially uncut long strain noodles.
- Eat broccoli or cauliflower – the blossom bouquet denotes abundance and riches.
- Make egg rolls – each egg roll fried till golden brown looks like gold bar and ingot which represent wealth.
Chinese families, even in Thailand, gather for a reunion dinner on the eve of the lunar new year. This is the time where a feast will be served and everyone rejoice for a better year ahead. Adults will hand out ‘Lucky Money’ in red packets called ‘ang-pao’, which is typically given to unmarried by the married; most of whom are children. It is a tradition to put brand new notes inside the red packets.
Looking forward for a prosperous year ahead, let’s welcome the Year of the Horse with great potential and growth. We wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year or in Thailand, we say, in Thai language สุขสันต์วันตรุษจีน Suk San Wan True Jinn!