Even though the world partied their way into the New Year on 1st January, for people in South East Asia, the New Year celebrations are just about to begin. Chinese New Year marks the end of cold winter and beginning of the colorful spring. It also marks the beginning of agricultural time and is thus related to concepts of growth, fortune and good health.
The lunar New Year is celebrated in countries influenced by the Chinese culture such as Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. The traditional celebrations start with offerings to household deities and ancestor worship.
The New Year calls for the cleansing act; homes are cleaned and Windows and doors are decorated with red color embellishments and writings on good fortune, happiness, wealth and health. They say the cleaning helps in removing the negativity and welcomes positive vibes and good luck. People wear new clothes especially red colored clothes and attend large banquets with extended families and friends. The feast usually comprises of items like sticky rice with pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. At the end of the day the families bursts firecrackers together and welcome the New Year with much zeal. The elders give children “lucky money” in red envelopes as blessings.
It is the time of the year when everyone reconciles and prays for each other’s wellness. Several people hang lanterns in the temple and participate in the evening lantern parade. A carnival look comes alive in the evening when gongs are beaten and Dragon and lion dances are performed by people wearing costumes made of silk, paper and bamboo.
The traditional New Year celebrations usually go on for a week, and are the perfect way of bringing people close to each other and making strong bonds. On this auspicious occasion Khao Kheow Open Zoo wishes you all a Happy New Year, great fortune and good health. May our bond keep growing stronger with every passing year.