The Lunar New Year, marking the Year of the Dragon, begins today (Feb 10), carrying profound significance for Thais with Chinese heritage.
Celebrations are underway, particularly focusing on rituals aimed at warding off bad luck, a practice deeply rooted in both Thai and Chinese cultures. Wat Mangkon Kamalawat in Bangkok’s Chinatown is the focal point for many seeking to perform these rites, given its stature as a major religious site for Thai-Chinese community members to make merit and seek good fortune.
The temple, known for its dragon lotus theme, is expected to draw larger crowds this year. Visitors express their annual tradition of visiting the temple to partake in ceremonies that they believe help in dispelling bad luck and starting the new year on a positive note. The temple’s significance is enhanced by its historical and cultural ties, dating back to the reign of King Rama V, serving as a bridge between Thai and Chinese traditions.
In addition to traditional temple visits, many Thai-Chinese are purchasing talismans and gifts symbolizing the dragon, hoping to attract good luck for the year ahead. Items such as dragon-shaped lanterns and bracelets with dragon pendants are popular among those looking to celebrate the Year of the Golden Dragon.
Amid the festivities, Han Zhiqiang, the Chinese ambassador to Thailand, extended his best wishes for the Lunar New Year. Han highlighted the progress and cooperation between China and Thailand, including economic achievements and diplomatic milestones. The ambassador underscored the strong ties and shared future between the two nations, accentuated by recent high-level visits and agreements, including a visa exemption pact that marks a new era of ease in travel between China and Thailand.