Daily Archives: February 8, 2005

Chinese New Year

Tomorrow marks the start of a new year for Chinese people. It is the year of the Rooster. Today, it is still New Year’s Eve. Firecrackers have been going off all day and local shopkeepers have been setting fire to paper money in front of their shops. At school, the school administrators made an offering of a large banquet to their dead ancestors.

The offerings included steamed duck, chicken, pork, fruit, Chinese cake and vegetarian food such as dried mushrooms, bean cakes and edible Chinese flowers.

Gold, banknotes, clothes, all made of paper, were also offered to the ancestors. Towards the close of the ceremony, all of the paper offerings were burnt. Then the firecrackers were lit. Trust me, you don’t want to stand by these guys when they go off. They are LOUD!

I am going to go out now to eat at Paknam market. Then I am going to pay a visit to the Chinese Street Opera near the City Pillar. If I get some good pictures I will share them with you tomorrow.

The sound of firecrackers

I woke up this morning to the sound of firecrackers. Very loud firecrackers. Dreary eyed I struggled out of bed and peeped through my blinds. The people next door were crouching down in front of their car with a tray of food and some incense sticks. They seemed to be making an offering to their car as if it was some kind of deity. I was going to take a picture to show you but I decided to go back to bed instead. Half an hour later my alarm clock went off and it was time to get ready for school.

Today is New Year’s Eve for the Chinese people. As many Thai people in this area have Chinese ancestors there is a lot going on here at the moment. I have already mentioned the firecrackers and also the tables outside houses with offerings of food upon them. Walking to school, I also passed several shophouses where people were burning paper money and paper clothes. They are doing this for the benefit of their dead ancestors.

There are three different kinds of prayers that must be chanted today. These are prayers for the Gods of the Land in the morning, prayers for the ancestors at noon and prayers for the wandering souls with no relatives in the afternoon. Chinese people believe that these prayers will bring them merit and good luck. After each prayer, they burn golden paper, believing that the paper will become money in the after life.

At school, about 10% of my students were absent today. I think even more will be absent tomorrow. On New Year’s Day, it is traditional for people to go to their relatives’ houses to give and receive blessings. Children are given red envelopes with money inside so for sure the students don’t want to miss that!

There will be a ceremony for dead ancestors at the school this afternoon. I will take some pictures to show you later. I will also try and take some pictures of the Chinese street opera near the City Pillar as that is a treat for the senses.

Monday, again!

I’m quite getting stuck with this blog thingy now. It’s been quite addictive. I couldn’t come on and write it last night with some technical problems and it drove me mad! For those who have never tried blogging before, I advice you all to blog so that you can understand my feeling right now.

It’s Monday again today. As usual, I would blog it around ten o’clock (UK time) so that it doesn’t intervene with my daily activities. Today, I did not go to school. Every Monday, I would have a day off (Nice eh???). It gives me some freedom to do stuff and I also get long weekends every week!

So, I shall talk about what I did yesterday first to get it out of the way. Yesterday, I went to play golf with my cousin. I have been playing golf for quite sometime now. I think it has been 6 years. Though my handicap is only around 12. It’s been like this because I had to study abroad and also, I broke my wrist after 1 year of playing it. In the past years it has been very difficult for me to play golf as I have no transportation when I was in Australia neither have I one here.

The weather here has been quite distracting as it always gets cold and the grass becomes very icy. However, yesterday, I only went to the driving range to practice and help my cousin with his swing and stuff. It’s been about a month now since he first started. Though, with the cold weather, I find it very difficult to wear a lot of clothes and play. In Thailand, we have the perfect weather for the sport as it’s always sunny. I can play golf there all year long! However, it’s nice just to get to practice in the cold and perhaps, one day, test out one of the English courses. That was what I did yesterday.

Today, I went to China Town (SOHO). SOHO, for those people who have never been there is unlike Yaowarat in Bangkok. Most of the people there are mainly Cantonese while in Yaowarat, they’re Fujianese. However, SOHO has got a lot of restaurants and shops which belong to Asian people. I went there to have dinner with my friend and fortunately, we went to an Asian supermarket to get some rice. In SOHO, there are already decorations for Chinese new year. This festival will start from Wednesday as it is the official Chinese new year day! SOHO right now looks really colourful. Hopefully by Wednesday, I will be able to get some pictures to show you. I guess back in Bangkok’s china town will host the same festival but in a different style. Different parts of China have different style of celebrations. Back in Paknam, my house will also host a yearly Chinese new year celebration. This celebration will contain of fireworks, money & accessories burning (for those in heaven to use), Food giving (for the ghosts) etc…

I think that’ll be it for tonight. It has been a very tiring day and I will have to wake up early tomorrow because I have a 9 o’clock start. Also I’ll finish at 7.30pm tomorrow. So, I should get all the rest I need. I’ll come in and blog tomorrow to talk more about Chinese new year as it’s Chinese new year eve! Goodnight for now….