Chinese New Year in Bankok

Chinese New Year in Thailand is a fairly big deal, there is a large population of Thai-Chinese.  These hold dear their Chinese culture and traditions.  The New Year for Chinese is a time of renewal.  A time when you can rid yourself of the errors of the past year and renew your 'luck' for the next year.  For a week or so before the new year date you will see businesses and homes owned by Thai-Chinese busily cleaning from top to bottom. It's a fresh start and should be given the best chance.
The Chinese year follows the lunar calendar so the new year falls on a different day each year.   This year it was Mon. Jan 23.  Since many businesses are closed we took the day to enjoy the celebrations in China Town.
I often walk when I'm in Bangkok - you see so much more when you are walking than when you are in a vehicle.  We stopped for something to eat and I couldn't resist taking a picture of this man who sat beside us.  It was scorching hot and he was wearing a fleece lined ear-muff hat.  He did order and ice-tea (to cool off?).  He was just too cute for words!

As we walked closer to China Town,  New Year decorations appeared.  Red, the colour for good luck, is everywhere.  Chinese lanterns were hung in the streets.

Everyone seemed to be stopping to get thier picture taken beside these lanterns, so I thought I'd join in. Can't hurt to wish for a little New Year Good Luck of my own! 



A group of school girls pose for a picture.  So cute!



We arrive at the market in China Town.  This area is always a market, and I go every year to see what I might find, but today for new year celebrations there are extra vendors and definitely more people.

fabrics

fresh pomegranate juice

 Me being me, I managed to find a shop with a fantastic sale on jewelry.  Couldn't resist!  Even though I had to lug around the 4kg bag the rest of the day. Totally worth it.

After snapping up a few more deals, we made our way to the centre of the celebrations.

The gates into the celebration.  


It was the start of the year of the dragon.  Lots of dragon souvenirs to be had.

It's crowded!

Much like a carnival at home, there was food, food and more food.

pork & crispy pork skin


fresh strawberries (covered in a mixture of sugar and dried chilies)


satay

steamed dim sum


boiled chicken


BBQ chicken

We decided on duck soup for lunch.

These 2 girls were hilarious - walking advertisements for a dried seaweed snack product.  (it's good, a lot like potato chips - really!)


Then, the climax of the day, the Queen & Princess of Thailand were arriving to perform the opening ceremonies.  We honkered down with the locals and tourists alike who were all vying for a good view.  The monarchy in Thailand are very revered.  The Thais love thier royality especially the King. And deservedly so, he is an excellent leader and does much for the Thai people and the country.  You never (ever, ever, ever) speak poorly of the King.  In fact, they recently passed a new law, if you are caught sending an email that slanders the King, you can face a large fine and jail time!




We all waited patiently for their arrival.


The streets were cleared and police security was everywhere.


These are the Queen & Princess' escorts, but pictures of the royalty is strictly forbidden.


It was well after dark before we started walking for home.  When I got back I looked at the map and figure we clocked an easy 35km of walking.  Starting the new year with sore feet but a full belly...life is good.  Happy Chinese New Year!

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