Chinese New Year Traditions and Modern Takes

12 Feb 2021

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Chinese new year begins today and although we are in Thailand, not China, there is still a thriving Chinese community here on Koh Phangan.

Every year there is a celebration at the Chinese temple where all of the Chinese residents get involved and anyone can go along to witness the festivities and celebrate alongside them.

This year it is the year of the Earth Dog.

The community give out ‘Ang Pows’ to younger relatives and unmarried people, Ang Pows are the small red envelopes you will see, these are a monetary gift given out during festivities.

If you are partaking in any Chinese new year celebrations or just wish to take a part of this culture and bring it into your life then here are some Do’s and Don’ts, both traditional and more modern aspects, which you should follow;

Do’s (Traditional)

Use the colour red for the whole of Chinese New Year which lasts approximately 15 days.

Do all of the housework and decorations before the lunar new year, it’s better to be prepared than to rush at the last minute.

Parents should prepare their Ang Pows for children etc before the celebrations.

Children should wish their elders a Happy New Year and verbally invite them to any celebrations or reunion dinners.

Settle all of your debts before the new year so that others can celebrate also.

Make sure you stay up late so that you can usher in the lunar new year.

Do’s (Modern)

Spend quality time with your elders and give them a listening ear.

Mix with others during this time, not just your common relatives and friends.

Reconcile with family members before this time.

Appreciate loved ones for who they are and don’t expect people to change to your own fancy.

Be considerate of neighbours especially if you are celebrating, don’t be too loud.

Don’ts (Traditional)

No house chores during the first day of Chinese New Year. The belief is that any housework will wash away any form of luck.

Do not open red packets (Ang Pows) immediately after receiving them. Practised delayed gratification and have manners.

Do not jump into a meal without first inviting elders to eat as a sign of respect.

Avoid breaking any bowls or plates as it is said to bring bad luck.

If eating a whole fish, don’t flip it over from how it is served so as to prevent any luck being splashed away.

Don’t do any knitting or weaving during Chinese New Year, it is considered as ‘working’ and disregards the celebration.

Don’ts (Modern)

Stop asking people about their marriage or relationship status, everyone has their own course in life!

Stop comparing your children’s accomplishments with each other, they each have their own abilities.

As always here at we will keep you updated about any Chinese New Year celebrations happening on the island and we hope you enjoy the joyfulness of this time of year!

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