Pattaya fetes Chinese New Year with lions, fireworks & prayer

Wednesday, 09 February 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 6 By  Phasakorn Channgam

Pattaya welcomed in the “year of the rabbit” with prayers, firecrackers and lion dances as residents celebrated Chinese New Year’s across the city.

The three-day observance began Feb. 2 with the pre-New Year’s observance of “Pay Homage Day” when Thais of Chinese extraction pray to their gods and ancestors for good luck. Prayer alters filled with meat dishes, sweets like fluffy rice flower cakes, steamed dumplings and fruit and even whiskey could be spotted in front of homes and shrines across the area. Evil spirits were cast aside with long bursts of firecrackers.

Pattaya denizens welcomed in the Year of the Rabbit last weekend with parades, lion and dragon dances, prayers, fireworks and a grand party.  The eclectic mix of the city and surrounding environs showed in the many different ways Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, including this dragon guarding the entrance to the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in Naklua. Pattaya denizens welcomed in the Year of the Rabbit last weekend with parades, lion and dragon dances, prayers, fireworks and a grand party.  The eclectic mix of the city and surrounding environs showed in the many different ways Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, including this dragon guarding the entrance to the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in Naklua.

The actual Chinese New Year’s Day, Feb. 3, was marked with more firecrackers and colorful dances featuring dragons and lions. Hotels, including the Hard Rock and Mike, brought in their own troupes and jumping creatures danced well into the evening, with a lion and dragon making calls in each of the bars along Walking Street.

The city’s official New Year’s festival took place this year in Naklua, the birthplace of greater Pattaya, with a three-day celebration at Lan Pho Park.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh kicked things off with an early morning homage to Prince Chumphon, the “father” of Pattaya, at his statue on Pratamnak Hill. Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon performed similar duties at the Sawang Boriboon Foundation’s headquarters in Naklua.

The main celebration took place at Lan Pho Park with Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome serving as host of the Pattaya Chinatown. There were, of course, more dancing lions and dragons. But revelers were also treated to music, performing artists from the mainland and Taiwan, a parade and Little Chinese Girl pageant.

The New Year begins at City Hall.The New Year begins at City Hall.

Pattaya Administrators pray to the Gods at the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in Naklua.Pattaya Administrators pray to the Gods at the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in Naklua.

Saran Tantichamnan, GM of Central Festival Pattaya Beach, and his dragon and lion dance team visit shopkeepers to wish them a Happy New Year.Saran Tantichamnan, GM of Central Festival Pattaya Beach, and his dragon and lion dance team visit shopkeepers to wish them a Happy New Year.

Dragon dancers perform at the Prince Chumporn Khet Udomsak Monument on Pratamnak Hill.Dragon dancers perform at the Prince Chumporn Khet Udomsak Monument on Pratamnak Hill.

Lions enter the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya to help bring prosperity to all.Lions enter the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya to help bring prosperity to all.

People of Thai-Chinese heritage purchase items for good luck.People of Thai-Chinese heritage purchase items for good luck.

The dragon winds its way down Walking Street.The dragon winds its way down Walking Street.

The grand dragon makes its way through Naklua.The grand dragon makes its way through Naklua.

This lovely visitor poses for a commemorative photo with one of the lion dancers.This lovely visitor poses for a commemorative photo with one of the lion dancers.

Beautiful young maidens perform a Chinese cultural show in Naklua.Beautiful young maidens perform a Chinese cultural show in Naklua.

The Eng Kor Pa Bu dancers perform in Naklua.The Eng Kor Pa Bu dancers perform in Naklua.

Chinese acrobats perform at Hard Rock Hotel, Pattaya.Chinese acrobats perform at Hard Rock Hotel, Pattaya.

Feeding the dragon in front of Mike Shopping Mall.Feeding the dragon in front of Mike Shopping Mall.

City officials gather at the Prince Chumporn Khet Udomsak Monument on Pratamnak Hill to pay homage to the revered prince.City officials gather at the Prince Chumporn Khet Udomsak Monument on Pratamnak Hill to pay homage to the revered prince.

Pullman Pattaya Aisawan welcomes the Chinese New Year with a ceremony led by Operations Manager Serge Rigodin (centre), along with hotel executives and staff to pray for good luck in the year of the Rabbit, and to show gratitude for all the good things received in the past year. Pullman Pattaya Aisawan welcomes the Chinese New Year with a ceremony led by Operations Manager Serge Rigodin (centre), along with hotel executives and staff to pray for good luck in the year of the Rabbit, and to show gratitude for all the good things received in the past year.

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