Chinese New Year in Bangkok’s China Town

Posted on 05 February 2013 by ABPC

Chinese New Year in Bangkok’s China Town

With preparation for the Chinese New Year now underway a number of events will be taking place throughout the country not least in Bangkok’s China Town area. The events this year will be visited by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The following article appears on the popular website:
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the Bangkok Chinatown Festival 2013 in celebration of Chinese New Year.

The opening ceremony will be held at 5:00 p.m. on 10 February 2013, which marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year 2013, the Year of the Snake.

It will take place at the King’s Birthday Celebration Arch at Odeon Circle on Yaowarat Road. Organized jointly by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Bangkok’s Chinatown community, the festival will run for two days, on 10 and 11 February. Traffic will be closed from the King’s Birthday Celebration Arch to the Chaloem Buri intersection, from 6:00 p.m. on 9 February to 6:00 a.m. on 12 February. Visitors to the festival are urged to take public transport in order to avoid traffic congestion.

Many joyous activities will be held, such as a lion dance contest, a food fair, concerts, and cultural shows. One of the highlights will be a special performance from Tibet, prepared by the Chinese government as a special gift to promote Thai-Chinese relations. This will be the first time that Tibetan classical dance has been performed here.

An exhibition in honor of His Majesty the King will also be held, featuring royal speeches on various occasions together with interesting pictures. Another exhibition is about the history of Bangkok’s Chinatown.

Bangkok has been home to Chinese immigrants since before the beginning of the Rattanakosin, or Bangkok, period. After the establishment of Bangkok as the capital of Thailand 230 years ago, King Rama I ordered the construction of the Grand Palace as the new royal residence on the plot that housed a group of Chinese merchants. Chinese residents living there were asked to move to a new site, presently the Yaowarat area.

King Mongkut (Rama IV) expanded this area by building three roads running in parallel with the Chao Phraya River. The three roads were Sampheng, Yaowarat, and Charoen Krung. As a result of the road expansion, Chinatown grew rapidly with the construction of more roadside buildings.

Bangkok’s Chinatown is an old business center, covering a large area around Yaowarat and Charoen Krung roads. In this area, there are many small streets and alleys full of shops and wholesale and retail outlets selling all kinds of goods. Bangkok’s Chinatown is famous for its gold shops, restaurants, and food stalls offering numerous delicacies.

Although it is normally a congested area and a busy part of town, the Chinese New Year Festival provides visitors a chance to walk along the streets without worrying about traffic. The festive season has become a major cultural event of the country, and the celebrations have not been confined only to Thai-Chinese communities, but are also enjoyed by tourists from various countries.

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