Easy English news
Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit
- Published: 2 Feb 2011 at 10.04
- Online news:
For the Thai-Chinese community, the New Year is one of the most significant and joyous festivals.
The Thai-Chinese visit Wat Mangkon Kamalawat during Chinese New Year. YINGYONG UN-ANONGRAK
Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit
Visit Techakasem, architect, feng shui master and a Chinese culture guru.
"Chinese traditions and culture are what our ancestors passed on to us. If we fail to pass them on, the knowledge our grandparents gave us will disappear and we will experience a cultural transformation," says Visit Techakasem, architect, feng shui master and a Chinese culture guru.
For the Thai-Chinese community, the New Year is one of the most significant and joyous festivals. People welcome it by cleaning their homes, sweeping away bad luck and decorating their houses with red paper, setting off red firecrackers and laying out sumptuous feasts.
It is a time when families get together, when children expect to receive ang pao – red envelopes with "lucky money" – from their seniors or elders.
One of the key rites they perform is the wai jao, which is when people offer a sacrifice to Chinese gods, as well as their ancestors. It is believed to bring them good fortune.
Wai jao requires detailed preparations. To do it properly, here are a few useful tips from Visit.
THE DO'S AND DONT'S
The Chinese New Year begins tomorrow when people pay respect to the god of prosperity, Cai Shen, also known as Zhao Gongming.
According to Visit, the best time to lay out the banquet and pay respect is from 11 o'clock tonight, which according to one Chinese belief is the beginning of a new day. The auspicious time ends at 1am tomorrow.
Too early? There is another window: between 3-5am, followed by 5-7am.
''This year Cai Shen heads to the north of the universe, so it is best if the table with food offerings faces north. The table must be placed outdoors, ideally on your house deck if there is one,'' he says.
Each of the three wai jao windows is suitable for people born under a particular zodiac sign.
For example, the first group of people in the family to pay respect to Cai Shen from 11pm-1am should be those born in the Year of the Rat, Ox, Dragon, Snake, Monkey and Rooster. Those born in the Year of the Goat should avoid paying respect during this time.
''The first person in the family to start the wai jao practice should also be the first to put incense sticks in the designated pot,'' Visit explains. ''The first person lights nine incense sticks to honour the god. The rest of the family can then use one stick each. If we do all these things right, it will bring good fortune to the family.''
A Chinese ritual aimed at dispelling bad luck. YINGYONG UN-ANONGRAK
The next group – from 3-5am – should be those born in the Year of the Tiger, Dog and Horse, while people born in the Year of the Monkey should not be the first to light an incense stick.
Finally, those born under the signs pig, rabbit and goat should pay their respects from 5-7am, while people born in the Year of the Rooster should avoid this time.
A few more things to note regarding the offering table is that a round incense pot should be used, instead of a square one, because a round shape signifies heaven. Also, no spoon should be put on the table as it is believed that the gods will use the spoon to take away all good fortune.
Buns and oranges are among the must-have food offerings to Chinese gods.
Adapted from a story by Arusa Pisuthipan in today's Bangkok Post. For the full story and many more photos click here: http://bit.ly/ekKu9n
tradition – a very old custom, belief, or story ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
ancestors – people who are related to you who lived a long time ago บรรพบุรุษ
disappear – to no longer exist; to no longer be in use หายไป, สาบสูญ, สูญหาย
transformation – a complete change in somebody/something การเปลี่ยนรูป,การแปรรูป,การปฎิรูป,การเปลี่ยนสภาพ
feng shui – an ancient Chinese belief that the way your house is built and the way that you arrange objects affects your success, health, and happiness ฮวงจุ้ย
guru – a person who is respected for their knowledge of a particular subject and who gives advice ครู
community – a group of people who share the same job, interests, religion, etc สังคม
significant – important สำคัญ
joyous – very happy
festival – an event that is held to celebrate a particular thing or activity เทศกาล
sweep away – to destroy or to completely remove something พัดพาไป
decorate – to make something look more attractive by putting nice things on it or in it ประดับ, ตกแต่ง
firecracker – a kind of firework that makes a lot of loud noise when it explodes ประทัด
sumptuous – very expensive and looking very impressive หรูหรา, สุรุ่ยสุร่าย
feast – a large or special meal, especially for a lot of people and to celebrate something งานเลี้ยง,งานฉลอง,อาหารมากมาย
senior – a person who is older than you ผู้อาวุโส
elder – an old person ผู้สูงวัย, ผู้อาวุโส, ผู้อายุมาก
sacrifice – the act of offering something to a god การบวงสรวง,การบูชายัญ, การสังเวย
rite – a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one พิธีกรรม
fortune – luck โชค
detailed – in a very thorough way and with careful attention to facts อย่างพิถีพิถัน
preparation – things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready การตระเตรียม
properly – in a way that is correct and/or appropriate อย่างเหมาะสม, อย่างถูกต้อง
tip – a small piece of advice about something practical คำแนะนำ
pay respect to – to show deep admiration for someone แสดงความเคารพ
prosperity - the state of being successful and having a lot of money ความเจริญรุ่งเรือง
banquet – a formal meal for a large number of people, usually for a special occasion, at which speeches are often made งานเลี้ยง, งานรื่นเริง
auspicious - suggesting a positive and successful future ที่มีฤกษ์ดี
window – a time when there is an opportunity to do something, although it may not last long โอกาส,จังหวะ, ช่อง
universe – everything that exists, especially all physical matter, including all the stars, planets, galaxies, etc. in space จักรวาล
ideally – in the best possible way — ดีเลิศ, ดีที่สุด, ในอุดมคติ
deck – a wooden floor that is built outside the back of a house where you can sit and relax
suitable – acceptable or right for someone or something เหมาะสม
zodiac - an area of the sky through which the sun, moon and most of the planets appear to move, divided into twelve equal parts, each with a name and symbol, and each connected with an exact time of year จักรราศรี
zodiac sign – one of the twelve signs of the zodiac ราสี
avoid – to try to prevent something from happening หลีกเลี่ยง
incense – a substance that produces a pleasant smell when you burn it, used particularly in religious ceremonies ธูป,กำยาน,เครื่องหอม
designated – marked, separated, or give a name for a particular purpose ถูกกำหนด
regarding – concerning somebody/something; about somebody/something เกี่ยวกับ
ritual – a set of fixed actions and sometimes words performed regularly, especially as part of a ceremony พิธีกรรม
dispel – to remove fears, doubts and false ideas, usually by proving them wrong or unnecessary ทำให้หมดไป
signify – to be a sign or symbol of something เป็นสัญลักษณ์
heaven – the place believed to be the home of God where good people go when they die สวรรค์
spoon – a tool that has a handle with a shallow bowl at the end, used for stirring, serving and eating food ช้อน