Asia Travel

Lunar New Year Festival

Chinese New Year – The Year of the Rooster

Location: Thailand

We begin the year of the Fire Rooster. People born in a year of the Rooster are very observant. Hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented. Roosters are very confident in themselves.

Three years ago we were lucky to be in China and in Korea during the Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year and Spring Festival). Lots of firecrackers!  That was 2014, the year of the Horse. It was in Korea that I learned I was born in the year of the Rat.  Apparently Rats are quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, kind, smart, and lovely.  I’ll take it!  Click here to see what your Chinese Zodiac sign is.

By the way Donald Trump was born in 1946, the year of the Fire Dog.  The Fire Dog prefers to be the leader of their own domain, which explains their resistance to change and influence. In a similar light, the adventurous Fire Dog is likely to become restless if their need for excitement is not met. In order to counter these shortcomings, the Fire Dog should take time to facilitate inner peace and feel content in their efforts.

Seems pretty accurate to me.

Once again we find ourselves straddling two Asian countries during this, the most important Asian holiday event of the year. The Lunar New Year celebrations begins on January 28th while we are still here in Thailand and runs through the first week of February when we arrive in Vietnam.

Many of the Thai people trace their roots to China,
and so this tradition of celebrating with family and remembering your ancestors is important to the Thais.  However, because the entire country remains in mourning following the passing of HRH Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13th, 2016, many of the usual public New Year celebrations have been cancelled.  But the holiday really is more about family than about public events, and families travel great distances to be together each year. And to set off lots of firecrackers!

When we were in Korea, we were astonished at the absence of people in Seoul during the weekend of the New Year.  The entire city seemed to vanish, as city dwellers headed to their home provinces to be with loved ones. And set off lots of firecrackers!

We arrive in Vietnam on February 1st, just as the events will be winding down.  But Vietnam, like many of the other Asian countries, believe the colors red and gold are lucky.  I expect we will see the red and gold theme carried out widely in Vietnam.

Called “Tet” in Vietnam, the Vietnamese prepare well in advance for the special event cleaning and preparing their homes and food and gifts as well as special care given to the ancestral altar.  The holiday is a deeply religious one, and offerings are made for good luck and good fortune in the coming year.  Historically the holiday also was a time of rest after the harvest and before the new plantings began (hence the name Spring Festival).  I expect it also involves lots of firecrackers.

People consider what they do on the dawn of Tet will determine their fate for the whole year, hence people always smile and behave as nice as they can in the hope for a better year.

I plan to practice this as well.  Heaven knows we all need a bit of luck right now.

Happy New Year!!

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