On February 19, we decided to go to Chinatown. Why there, why then? Wonderfully, because on this day they celebrate Chinese New Year in Bangkok! We could not miss such an event. As you know, the Chinese, due to historical, cultural and other reasons, constitute a significant part of the population of Thailand. There are in particular a lot of the Chinese in Bangkok. Here, they mostly live in a special district known as Chinatown. So here we went today to enjoy the colorful traditions of celebrating the New Year. Getting to Chinatown is pretty easy: you need to get to the terminal metro station – Hua Lamphong. Having come out of the subway station, cross the road, the railway station will be on your left. Just a short walk from the metro station – and we see a bright banner saying Welcome to Chinatown, and in front of us we find a breathtaking view of the street adorned with a variety of bright red Chinese lanterns.
There is a huge number of tourists and locals dressed in traditional Chinese costumes, flocked into the streets to celebrate the coming New Year. The Chinese New Year marks the end of the lunar cycle, after the passing of the winter solstice. This date varies every year and falls between 21 January and 21 February. In 2015, Chinese New Year is celebrated on February 19. On the New Year’s Eve people make offerings to the spirits, organize fireworks exploding firecrackers (to scare away evil spirits). On the day of celebration, when we were in Chinatown, there was literally “a feast for the whole world.” A great number of people, incense, flowers, the most diverse food, colorful traditional Chinese dragons and decorations – we were just dazzled by all this variety.
First we went to the temple, having taken our shoes off in front of it. In the temple a monk sprinkled us with water and gave each of us a small amulet with the image of Buddha. In the center of the temple the golden statue of Buddha stands, in front of which the faithful sit on their lap and say a prayer. The entire display was incredibly attractive to our children. They enthusiastically observed the scene and repeated all the things that people did around. We ourselves felt some awe – it is difficult to convey the sense of surging. This was our first visit to this temple. You can take pictures and shoot video. People were smiling at us and the children. It is very nice. There was another temple nearby. We needed to climb some rather high stairs, which is what we did. Having taken our shoes off again, we entered the temple with the Golden Buddha. Near the temple there is a special vat where people throw coins and there are bells that emit pleasant sounds when you touch them. Everywhere there are boxes for donations, money trees, like a Christmas tree. So, once here, get ready to donate money, because you want to honor the spirits so that they are favorable to you.
After coming out of the temple, we moved on. There were a few stages constructed nearby where there were some performances. A little further down we discovered some tents in which they sold traditional Chinese souvenirs, jewelry, fans, etc. Here began dramatized actions involving dragons, knights, and other participants of the show in bright costumes. And then we appear to be at the street full of food. Here is a paradise for gourmets – I did not have any idea of what to choose. I wanted to try everything, because everything looked so appetizing. Be careful with cold drinks – too strong a contrast can be obtained, because it is quite hot outside! We opted for bright buns which looked like minions and angry birds, Chinese noodles with quail eggs and strawberry yogurt (which was very cold). All very tasty!
There are more and more people here, and soon we find ourselves in the middle of the crowd moving to the beat of its movements. There are many children, even very young ones, who are sleeping in their baby carriages, in spite of the noise, loud music and shouts of the performers on the stage.
The holiday has just started, but we decided to move in the opposite way because of the crowd noise and the excitement, and that special festive mood didn’t just made us feel happy, but was also quite tiring for the kids. Having bought a bright dragon drum on our way back, we were tired and happy, we headed to the subway.
So, if you want to get a lot of new unforgettable impressions, to plunge into the magical world of Chinese traditions, it is well worth a visit to Chinatown in Bangkok during the celebration of Chinese New Year. This is a very important event in the cultural life of the city and country, which attracts tourists from all over the world. It includes miles of bright colors, exquisite costumes, enchanting performances, incredibly pleasant aromas, fireworks and a variety of delicacies that are difficult to even imagine! Of course, the Chinese New Year is an event that deserves attention, and if you are lucky enough to visit Bangkok during the celebrations, you should definitely visit Chinatown, where you will get the most vivid, unforgettable experience.