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Chinese New Year for Thai-Chinese

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Since ancient times, Chinese New Year has been the most important festival of the year for Chinese people. — Its cultural meaning and social implications are like that of the Songkran festival to Thai people. 

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Members of a Chinese dancing troupe perform at the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote Chinese New Year celebrations at Yaowarat this year. The celebration will be held from Jan 31 to Feb 1. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

This short introduction to Chinese New Year in Thailand is part of a much longer story in today's Bangkok Post about Chinatown and the new year festivities. You can read the full story here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/interview/392022/tradition-and-transition

Chinese New Year for Thai-Chinese

Cui Yuchen

Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival as it's known in China, has a history of more than 4,000 years. It begins on the last day of the lunar year, and ends on the 15th day of the next lunar year, which marks the beginning of the Lantern Festival. Since ancient times, Chinese New Year has been the most important festival of the year for Chinese people. — Its cultural meaning and social implications are like that of the Songkran festival to Thai people.

A mother and her young daughter come to shop at Yaowarat in preparation for Chinese New Year. APICHART JINAKUL

Chinese New Year for Thai-Chinese is not only time for family reunions, bidding farewell to the old days and ushering in the new year — it is also marked by the ritual of ancestor worship. Perhaps this is because the Thai-Chinese people feel more distant from their ancestral home, thus the rite to remember the past and past relatives has more gravity here than in China itself.

Every Thai-Chinese family has an altar in the home. One day before the Chinese New Year, offerings are prepared early in the morning for the ceremony. All the sacrifices, including sumptuous dishes, desserts and fruits, are displayed on the altar. After all family members have worshiped their ancestors one by one, they eat the blessed sacrifices in the evening — the most important meal of Chinese New Year.

Apart from worshiping ancestors, Thai-Chinese usually go to a Chinese temple to pray for health, safety and success in the coming year. This is different from China, where people often visit their relatives and friends in the morning. In Thailand, however, people do this only after praying in a temple.

Decorations for the Year of the Horse at Chinatown. THANARAK KHOONTON

There are no public holidays for the Chinese New Year in Thailand, even though most Chinese companies, organisations and schools will hold a celebration and have several days off for the festival. In China, the holiday lasts seven days. This year it begins on Friday.

Vocabulary:

altar: a type of table used in ceremonies in a church or in other religious buildings or in some homes - ที่บูชา, แท่นบูชา

ancestors: people who are related to you who lived a long time ago - บรรพบุรุษ

ancient: very old - ที่เก่าแก่ ที่โบราณ

bid farewell: to say goodbye - ล่ำลา, กล่าวลา, ลาจาก

celebration: a party or special event at which you celebrate something such as a birthday, a festival or a religious holiday - การฉลอง

ceremony: a formal public event - งานพิธี

cultural: related to the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

dessert: sweet food eaten at the end of a meal - ของหวาน, ขนมหวาน

dish: food prepared and cooked in a particular way - อาหาร

display: to put something in a particular place so that people can see it easily - โชว์, แสดง

distant: far away in space or time - ห่างไกล

festivities: the activities that are organised to celebrate a special event - งานเทศกาล, การเฉลิมฉลอง

gravity: the seriousness or importance of something - ความสำคัญ,ความจริงจัง

implication: the effect that an action or decision will have on something else in the future - การเกี่ยวพัน,ความหมาย,ความเกี่ยวข้อง

lunar: of or relating to the moon - เกี่ยวกับพระจันทร์

mark: to show that something is happening or happened - เป็นเครืองแสดง เป็นการเริ่มต้น

offering: something that is given as part of religious worship - ของบูชา, ของถวาย (ทางศาสนา)

pray: to speak to God or a saint, for example to give thanks or ask for help - ภาวนา, สวดมนต์

public holiday: a day that the government makes into a holiday when people do not have to work -

relative: a member of your family - ญาติพี่น้อง

reunion: a situation in which people meet each other again after a period of time when they have been separated - การพบกันอีกครั้ง

rite: a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one - พิธีกรรม (พระราชพิธี)

ritual: a set of fixed actions and sometimes words performed regularly, especially as part of a ceremony - พิธีกรรม

sacrifice: something offered in a religious ceremony - สิ่งที่ใช้ในการบวงสรวง สิ่งที่ใช้ในการบูชายัญ,

social: related to society, to people and the way they are connected to each other and interact with each other - เกี่ยวกับสังคม

sumptuous: impressive, expensive, and of high quality - หรูหรา, สุรุ่ยสุร่าย

troupe: a group of actors, singers, etc. who work together - คณะผู้แสดง

usher in: to be at the start of a new period, especially when important changes or new things happen, or to cause important changes to start happening - เริ่มต้น, นำเข้ามา

worship: the practice of showing respect for God or a god, by saying prayers, singing with others, etc; a ceremony for this - พิธีสักการะบูชา, พิธีกราบไหว้, พิธีบวงสรวง

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