Chinese New Year is one of the world’s greatest annual festivals celebrated by Chinese communities across the world. It is characterised by a riot of sound and colour, feasting and gift giving and for both participants and observers is a great event to experience. In Thailand, nowhere celebrates Chinese New Year more enthusiastically than Pattaya and 2013 will be no exception so whether you are a resident or visitor to the city, it is an event not to be missed. The date of Chinese New Year varies according to the lunisolar calendar and in 2013, New Year’s Day falls on February 10th – although events in Pattaya will take place over several days. Each New Year is associated with one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and 2013 welcomes in the Year of the Snake.

The battle was fought off Koh Chang’s southern tip, an area where space to manoeuvre was severely restricted due to the Salakphet Islands and the islands to the south and south east of Koh Chang.

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One of the reasons for Chinese New Year being so popular in Pattaya is that the majority of officially registered Thai residents have Chinese origins and although the majority have been Thai for five generations or more, the links to their ancestor’s culture is still strong. In total, the Thai-Chinese population makes up 14% of Thailand’s population but in Pattaya it is significantly higher.

So what can you expect at Chinese New Year in Pattaya? Well the first thing is lots of noise from firecrackers that are normally fused together in a string of 100 or more and designed specifically to make a lot of noise. There are two traditions around the use of firecrackers: the first involves waking a sleeping dragon who will bring rain to water the new season’s crops and they are also widely believed to ward off evil spirits. So expect a lot of noise particularly in the morning when the lighting of firecrackers is traditional.

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Just as noisy, but not quite as explosive, is the clashing of symbols and the banging of drums. These are the usual accompaniment to one of the great sights of the Chinese cultural tradition – the lion and dragon dances. These are spectacular events involving multiple dancers operating a single costume and making it bob and weave to the delight of watching crowds. The costumes are always colourful and can be highly detailed in design.

The other great tradition of Chinese New Year is feasting and at most Chinese New Year events in Pattaya, expect to be greeted with plenty of traditional Chinese dishes. Many restaurants and hotels will be holding New Year dinners where delicious pork and duck dishes will be feature prominently on the menu.

If you are lucky enough to be invited to join a party you should be aware of another strong Chinese tradition – that of giving ‘Ang Pows’. These are small red envelopes normally containing a cash gift. It does not have to be a great sum, but it should always be an even number amount as odd numbers are traditionally associated with funerals and death. The number eight is considered particularly fortuitous.

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