It is that time of year again – the time when it seems more businesses take a break than at any other time of the year. That is right – it’s Chinese New Year…
Large numbers of Chinese settled in Thailand in the 1900s, with statistics showing that 15,460 Chinese immigrants arrived in the kingdom in 1927 alone! As a result, the Chinese represent the biggest ethnic group in Thailand - a staggering 15% of the population can trace Chinese roots.
This is one of the few countries in the world where a Chinese community has completely integrated into the local society. Until recently, Thailand had an ethnic Chinese prime minister, and many of the country’s business leaders have Chinese ancestry. It is no wonder then that Chinese New Year is not on the sidelines as far as Thailand’s festivals and celebrations are concerned. Such is its profile that an estimated 75,000 Chinese nationals visit Thailand each year around this time! Although it is not a national holiday, Chinese New Year ranks alongside the Thai calendar’s main events.
If you are in Thailand around Chinese New Year, what can you expect? Well, expect fireworks (lots of them!), dragon dances (this year’s dragon is purported to be a record-breaking 700 meters long), lion dances, Chinese orchestras, traditional Chinese theatre shows, Chinese opera – and lots of fun.
Although every major metropolitan area will have its celebrations, with the largest number of ethnic Chinese in Thailand currently based in Bangkok’s Yaowarat district, this area of course becomes to focal point of celebrations.