First things first: “Happy New Year” to all of our valued readers and Asian Oasis guests.

When you are living in Thailand, you have the fantastic opportunity to celebrate not one but three different kinds of New Year. We just passed what I like to call “Worldwide New Year”, which is not that big a deal here!

This was my seventh New Years Eve celebration since I moved here, and except for one time, where I celebrated on a boat on the Chao Phraya and some of the hotels put on a spectacular display – it is really some kind of anti climax.

At my first (2007/08), I almost missed the “magical” midnight spot and the place I celebrated didn’t even have sparkling wine on sale (something that would be unthinkable, back home.) Later in the year, on April 13th to be precise, we will celebrate Songkhran, the Thai New Year Festival.

In another article, I already talked about the three day (or four…or five) madness that will ensue on these days. There is not a chance in hell you would miss that date for reasons explained earlier.

At the end of January (this year, because it follows the lunar cycle), we celebrated the important New Year in Thailand, the Chinese New Year. My first experience with this event was a loud explosion that woke me up one early morning in February of 2008. It was so loud that my first impulse was “A bomb!”. I learned later that it was just a normal firecracker – one that puts everything to shame that I ever experienced back home (believe me when we were kids, we experimented a lot with making our firecrackers louder). I tip my head to the person who produced that one specimen in 2008.

Like Songkhran and Worldwide New Year have their customs…so has Chinese New Year.

Red is the dominant color

If I understand it correctly, on January 31st, , we entered the year of the horse and leave the year of the snake, which began on February 10th of the previous year and the celebrations lasted 15 days with its own customs each day. Little gifts were passed around (I experienced the excessive exchange of oranges once).

Money is presented in red envelopes and it should be even amounts of money- this means good luck, as uneven amounts are given out at funerals. The numbers “8″ and “6″ are considered especially lucky. The color red is very important in this event. All gifts (e.g. bank notes) have to be new in order to bring good luck.

Unfortunately, there are so many customs connected to the Chinese New Year that I hardly have enough space to mention even half of them. I will round it up, shortly: dress in red, have an orange at hand and throw the most massive firecracker you can find for good luck.  And if you win the lottery that day, you hope for 8 million in new bank notes.

 

Fun for the little ones

Whatever you do, have a Happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous Chinese New Year!