Chinese New Year tradition in Thailand
As the year of the tiger roars in, it’s time to bone up on your Chinese New Year tradition. Thailand, with its vibrant Chinese-Thai community, is no stranger to fantastic celebrations during this festive period. Whether you’re a local, an expat, or a tourist, it’s worth understanding the do’s and don’ts to make the most out of your Chinese New Year in the Land of Elephants!
If you want to earn that red packet, you better spruce up your knowledge on these 10 Chinese New Year tradition, the do’s & don’ts during reunion, so you can impress your grandma and grandpa.
-What you should do during CNY-
1. Give Ang Pao to your family and friends
Image credit: APPU
The red envelope, also known as ang pao, is an essential feature during Chinese New Year, typically containing money. In line with Chinese culture in Thailand, it is customary to distribute red envelopes to our loved ones, including friends and family members. Giving ang pao is like wishing the recipient prosperity and luck.
2. Pay respect to Chinese gods or ancestors
Image credit: The Republican Post
Next, pay respect to your ancestors. Paying respects to ancestors is a way to show reverence to those who have passed away, and importantly, it is also an act of worship to seek divine assistance for a prosperous and happy life for yourself and your family.
Furthermore, go to a Chinese shrine in your hometown, burn some incense, make merit, pay respects to the gods, and then maybe sneak in a prayer for our Instagram to finally blow up!
3. Wear red and gold colours
Image credit: Singaporean Motherhood
The colours red and gold, commonly linked to Chinese New Year, bear significant cultural and historical importance. Red is the colour of happiness and represents good fortune, whereas gold symbolises wealth and prosperity. When combined, these colours convey wishes for good fortune and prosperity to all in the upcoming new year.
So, if you want good luck in the new year, grab a red shirt or dress to wear for the day!
4. Spend time with your family and enjoy a meal together
Image credit: Central Online
Nothing is more important and joyous than family being together. The Lunar New Year is the opportunity for all family members to gather up and share a meal. Reunion with your family members is the symbol of respect and love and reinforces mutual support. You can wish each other good fortune and blessings for the year ahead.
Furthermore, food plays a crucial role in family reunions during Chinese New Year. Dumplings and noodles are considered the most essential dishes on the table as they symbolise wealth and longevity.
5. Decorate your house with Chinese items and duilian (red couplet)
Image credit: Amazon.sg
Decorating the house is also a longstanding tradition during CNY as it is a meaningful way to usher in the new year with positivity, good fortune, and a sense of renewal. You can buy some Chinese decorative items to glam up your house or rearrange your furniture in a way that aligns with feng shui.
Some common decorative items that are believed to bring you luck are red lanterns (drive off bad luck), door couplets (welcome good fortune), paper cuttings (luck and happiness), and blooming blossoms (renewal of life and longevity).
-What you should avoid during CNY-
1. Don’t say bad words or argue with others
Image credit: Amazon
Despite the fact some of us usually say bad words in our daily lives when hanging out with friends, it’s best to refrain from doing this during Chinese New Year. Saying bad words means showing negative energy and will believably bring misfortune to the speaker.
This also applies to arguing with people. When you have a fight with someone, you will likely yell and swear in a fight. So, instead of throwing bad words at each other, we should say nice things to each other.
2. Refrain from doing house chores
Image credit: Airtasker
If you are aware of unfinished chores, we recommend completing them before the Chinese New Year celebration, as doing house chores during this time is considered unlucky. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, engaging in chores during the celebration may bring hardships throughout the year. Additionally, tasks such as washing clothes, cleaning the house, sweeping dirt, and taking out the trash are believed to drive away the good fortune intended for the new year.
3. Avoid dropping breakable items and using sharp objects
Image credit: @CHUTTERSNAP via Unsplash
We think breaking stuff represents a bad meaning in general, so we’re not surprised this is listed as one of the things not to do during the Lunar New Year.
First off, breaking things will lead to separation and discord between you and your family. It’s also a sign of destruction that could affect the overall well-being and luck of the household.
Next, using sharp objects means cutting away good luck in your life. You are prone to get injured while using sharp tools which signifies a rough start for the new year, disrupting auspicious atmosphere for the rest of the year.
4. Spare yourself from wearing black and white clothes
Image credit: No Revisions via Unsplash
Opposite to red clothing items, both black and white dresses and garments aren’t what you want to wear during the Lunar New Year, as they are traditionally associated with mourning and symbolise a farewell or acknowledgement of loss. During this festive time, vibrant and auspicious colours. Wearing black or white attire is perceived as bringing energy to your life and hindering the joyful and celebratory spirit of the Lunar New Year.
5. Never lend anyone money
Image credit: Krungsri
Are you a generous person who tends to lend money to other people when they ask you to? If so, it’s best to restrain yourself from lending anyone money during the festival; otherwise, more and more people come and borrow your money for the entire year.
On top of that, make sure you repay all the money you owe to somebody before the new year, indicating a fresh start and financial prosperity.
Follow these Chinese New Year tradition for a better new year
We understand that not everyone – not just the Thai-Chinese commuity – may resonate with these beliefs and traditions. So whether or not you’re celebrating this auspicious occasion, adhering to these Chinese New Year tradition and following the do’s and don’ts can make sure you do right by those celebrating CNY.
Who knows, following these Chinese New Year tradition might even turn your luck, ensuring you an upcoming year filled with positivity and good fortune for you.
Also, don’t forget to check out the 8 relatives you run into every CNY, 7 ways you can do to avoid CNY misfortune and Chinese bars where you can enjoy drinks on Chinese New Year.
Cover image adapted from: The Republican Post, Central Online, No Revisions via Unsplash, and Krungsri
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