Chinese New Year is celebrated by Thai Chinese. However it is not as elaborate as the CNY celebration in neighboring countries of Malaysia and Singapore. Recalling last year, there was a huge festivity mood in Thailand, with elaborate decorations in Bangkok’s Yaowarat (Chinatown) and shopping complexes selling various items in preparation of CNY. Chinatown was jammed packed with foreigners, some who are CNY celebrants who preferred to spend their CNY on travel than the obligatory house visits.
The CNY celebrations went on right before Covid-19 become known worldwide. Who would have known, within a year, we are seeing economic collapse worldwide.
This year, it is more quiet everywhere. Many have lost their livelihoods or have it very badly affected due the pandemic. The tourism industry, with retail and food were badly affected due to the outbreak. Bangkok is classified as a red zone area and hence celebrations are either on a much smaller scale or halted altogether. A lot of gone back to their hometown, living a very simple life while waiting out for the condition to improve.
Thai Chinese would generally perform prayers during CNY with fruits and offerings. They have a special pasty that is being used for prayers as well presented as gifts when visiting the elders or person of respect:
These pastries come in various sizes. Actually these pastries are available throughout the year, and not limited to only festive seasons so during periods like Mother’s Day or parents’ birthdays, these are being presented to parents. It is available at specialty shops as well as places like Don Wai floating market (Nakhon Pathom) and Yaowarat or areas with mostly Chinese community. The filling consists of red bean, lotus seed paste, black sesame or mixed fruits/nuts.
If you are visiting an elder or a house with a respected older person and do not know what to buy, you may buy these auspicious pastry if you see a shop selling them.
May this year of the Ox brings us resilience to brave the challenges ahead: