Bangkok’s famous Chinatown, located in Samphanthawong district on Yaowarat Road, is one of the world’s largest overseas Chinese communities. According to www.mostinterestingfacts.com, it ranks as the fourth of seven greatest Chinatown in the world.
According to local folk belief, Samphanthawong district is the ‘realm of the golden dragon’, the guardian spirit that has watched over the community for centuries, and to whom locals believe they owe their good fortune, wealth, and prosperity.
Hence Bangkok’s Chinatown, more commonly known simply as Yaowarat—the ‘realm of the auspicious golden dragon’—is the prime location and central stage for Chinese New Year celebrations in Bangkok.
In 2012, the Year of the Dragon, Chinese New Year falls on January 23. Chinese New Year celebrations will be held during January 19 to 29 in the Thai capital and 10 other provinces with significant Thai-Chinese communities. These are the provinces of Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan (Pak Nam Pho), Suphan Buri, Ratchaburi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chon Buri (Pattaya), Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), Songkhla (Hat Yai), Phuket, and Trang.
In 2012, Thailand and China will be celebrating the 37th anniversary of the re-establishment of Thai-Chinese relations on 1 July 1975. Chinese New Year celebrations to mark the arrival of the Year of the Dragon are expected to be even more significant and special because they overlap with three other auspicious occasions being celebrated by the Thai people in 2012. These are the 85th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, the 80th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, and the 60th birthday of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Both countries are working together to jointly host a spectacular Sino-Thai cultural showcase entitled ‘From the Huang Ho (Yellow River) to the Chao Phraya River Basin’. The program will feature a rich tapestry of Chinese cultural performances and performing arts dating back two centuries, and a magnificent program of classical and traditional Thai performing arts. This cultural extravaganza will also be making its way to the 11 Thai provinces with established Thai-Chinese communities.
Other festival highlights and activities to welcome the Year of the Dragon include a traditional lion dance, the procession of the mythical golden dragon, live demonstrations depicting Chinese traditions and the Thai-Chinese way of life unique to Bangkok’s Chinatown, a food festival, stalls offering popular Thai and Chinese delicacies as well as local community products, and exhibitions of various interesting aspects of Samphanthawong district and Yaowarat, including its fascinating history. Traditional Chinese New Year theme decorations consisting of Chinese paper lanterns, paper cut-outs of popular Chinese auspicious phrases, vases of pretty plum blossoms, platters of oranges and tangerines and various other items considered symbolic of success, good fortune and prosperity, good health and longevity add to the festive feel of the occasion.
Chinese New Year celebrations and festivities in the 11 other provinces will also be in the form of themed events including cultural performances direct from China, traditional and contemporary Thai and Chinese shows and stage performances, and displays of Chinese traditions, art and culture.
Bangkok Chinatown Chinese New Year Festival
23 January 2012, at Chalerm Phrakiat Gate on Yaowarat Road
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the Bangkok Chinatown Chinese New Year official opening ceremony Two shows – one featuring a Thai cultural showcase and the other hosted and presented by China’s Ministry of Culture. This will be followed by a 1.5 hour Yaowaraj Cultural Showcase.
Chinese New Year Celebrations Around Thailand
19 – 29 January 2012, in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan (Pak Nam Pho), Suphan Buri, Ratchaburi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chon Buri (Pattaya), Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), Songkhla (Hat Yai), Phuket, and Trang.