How is Chinese New Year Celebrated in Thailand?

Chinese Year of the Dragon Year in Thailand isn’t an official holiday. However, it’s celebrated through many of the traditional traditions of Thailand. These celebrations blend centuries-old Chinese practices with Thai customs, providing an original interpretation of the well-known festival.

Temples and shrines are visited by people in order to earn merit and offer prayers. There is a tradition of exchanging the red envelopes for money. This is called laisee in Cantonese or an ang pao (in Hokkien).

Take advantage of Family Reunions

The celebrations are held during Chinese New Year, families meet to pray for gods and pay tribute for their past ancestors. The celebration lasts from about two or three days which is why many families journey across Thailand and Southeast Asia to be with their beloved relatives. Train stations, airports and the roads get crowded when it’s the time of year for Christmas.

The Christmas season is a time to celebrate family, togetherness and love. The children can go home to visit their parents, and trade gifts with family members and friends. Elders present the youngest members of the family red envelopes that are filled with gifts or cash.

One of the most popular activities is going to shrines and temples. It’s a wonderful opportunity to ask for good fortune in the coming year. Families light incense and clear their homes, and burn the couplets of paper with blessings or phrases.

At the time of celebrations, families can also decorate their homes with the lanterns in red and decorate inside their homes. The night prior to the celebration, it’s normal that families gather for dinner and a feast. The meal typically includes meat, fish, chicken and dumplings. If it is possible, the entire family would stay at home and never go to work to avoid bringing bad luck. However, if someone has to work, they will carry lucky charms. The wear red and blue clothes for luck. If you have an altar, can place candles, prayers papers, and coins upon it.


The celebrations of Chinese New Year, families are able to gather for traditional meals together. Food is served on dishes, with each food item representing a specific symbolism. In the case of chicken, it is a symbol of elegance and rice riches. Steamed cakes symbolize prosperity. Also, people are inclined to wear red, as it’s considered to be a sign of luck and happiness.

Though it’s no longer an legal Thai festival, the Thais often leave work early for family time and close friends. It is important for Thai-Chinese families to pay respect to deceased relatives in the days leading up to the start of the year. This is also the time to hand out red envelopes filled with money for children. These envelopes are referred to for their “ang pao” or “hongbao” for bringing the blessings of luck and success throughout the year.

Temple excursions are also frequent for Chinese New Year, as they are believed to bring good luck. Temples in Thailand tend to be decorated with Chinese lanterns, red ornaments as well as other elements to form an amalgamation between Chinese and Thai cultures. In addition, you can see lion and dragon dancing in order to cast of evil spirits as well as bring luck. Locals will often buy joss paper to burn for an offering for the shrines.


This is a crucial moment for families and, as with Christmas in the West, families travel to celebrate this holiday as a unit. Bangkok’s Chinatown is an excellent instance of this, since it is filled with life during the holidays. The residents clean their homes in order to get rid of negativity and get ready for the new year. Wearing shades of red as they stick up banners and spring couplets on the doors and wear bright colors. Firecrackers and fireworks are used to frighten evil spirits away.

The main reason to light firecrackers to frighten the demon Nian that is believed to emerge around this time of season to terrorize villager. The loud noises and bright light sources are believed to keep Nian from his presence and deter any other bad spirits.

The Lisu tribe, located in north Thailand is also using this occasion to pay tribute to their ancestors and appease them for their help as well as protection over the last year. They observe a different celebration than the rest of Thailand’s Chinese population which starts with a sad ceremony that allows them to honor their ancestral gods and offer offering in the form food, money and useful objects. This is followed by dancing in a joyous communal manner with traditional pipes. In honor of the deceased, they also burn gold and fake money to honor tradition. Mexican Day of the Dead or Korean Chuseok customs.

Lion as well as Dragon Dancing

The dragon and lion dance is one of the most popular events during Chinese New Year. It’s exciting and enjoyable to observe. A dragon that roars with vibrant colors and a dragon pearl that is affixed to its forehead are the most important elements of the dance. Dancers move the dragon about with precision, alternating between eye and head movements for different expressions. The dancers also do acrobatic stunts and jumps in unison to the constant beat of drums, gongs as well as cymbals.

Dancers can also interact with their audience in a humorous way, by teasing the Lion with balls, whether it’s through throwing them throwing food, or tossing money. In , they place red cash-filled envelopes in the lion’s mouth for the best luck. As the 2nd number is believed to be lucky for businesses as well, dance troupes of lions could also be contracted by businesses for entertainment to their clients.

Yaowarat Road, in the middle of Bangkok’s Chinese community, is adorned with Chinese lights and other decorations in the Chinese New Year. It’s an excellent opportunity to find out more about the Chinese culture. Talad Noi district, on opposite, features less gloomy but celebratory atmosphere and is home to Chow Sue Kong Shrine, the first Hokkien Chinese temple in Thailand.

Much like Western Christmas, family is the central theme for Chinese New Year. Families meet to celebrate the beginning of the new year to enjoy a reunion dinner at home of the senior family member and offer toasts with glasses of wine or other beverages. Red envelopes are filled with money and are shared between the families.






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