The “Year of the Horse” got off to a galloping start as Pattaya celebrated Chinese New Year with pageants, pyramids and parades.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome got things started at a lucky 9:09 a.m. with a ceremony offering tribute to Chinese gods, offering red “ang-pao” envelopes of cash, a lion and dragon parade, and the lighting of 10,000 firecrackers.
The parade was just the first of four held throughout the day. Demonstrations also played out at the Prince Chumphon monument outside the Naval Radio Station on Pratamnak Hill, at the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation in Naklua and, in the evening, down Walking Street.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome leads city administrators at the beginning of celebrations at city hall.
Pattaya City Council Vice-Chairman Urit Nantasurasak presided over the Pratamnak ceremony and in Naklua, home to Pattaya’s main Chinese-Thai community. He was joined by Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon, who led the ceremony honoring Lord Guan-uu, the god of stability and friend to the business community.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome distributes “ang-pao” money envelopes to the Lao Si performers.
Amid the dancing lions and dragons, acrobats created a five-level human pyramid that delighted those attending for about 20 minutes.
In the evening, acting Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome opened the city’s official Chinese New Year celebration at Lan Po Park.
The festival celebrated the traditions, art and culture of Chinese descendants in Thailand and promoted tourism to generate income for the Naklua community.
City administrators light incense atop Pratamnak Hill.
In addition to cultural shows and concerts by Pao Paowaree and the Blueberry Girls, the festival also featured the annual Miss Chinese Girl pageant for girls age 9 or younger vying for 48,000 baht in scholarships.
The contestants showed off their best singing, dancing and language skills, including introductions in Thai, English and Chinese.
Some of the 20 contestants were only 3 years old, making the stage a scary place. But encouraged by their peers, the tots came out to show off their dancing skills.
Lions and dragons perform in front of the Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak monument on Pratamnak Hill.
Judges looked clearly impressed by the talent on display and deliberated long before choosing the top five finishers. Last year’s winner, 8-year-old Waralak Uthaensud, gave both winners and losers encouragement.
In the end, Kae Darakul was named Miss Chinese Girl 2014 and took home a trophy and 10,000 baht scholarship. Chanoknut Somkratok finished second, winning 7,000 baht, and Narinthip Boon-on won the 5,000 baht third prize. Fourth and five places went to Nicha Saethang and Thishaporn Tiemsut, who won 3,000 baht and 2,000 baht respectively. The other 15 contestants took home smaller prizes.
Three Shaolin monks perform a Shaolin Kungfu show.
Little Miss Chinese Girl contestants prepare to shine under the spotlight.
A Chinese God wishes people prosperity and good health in the year of the horse.
Contestant 10 struts down the catwalk.
Contestant #16 certainly packs a punch.
Winners and runners-up of the Miss Chinese Girl contest show off the spoils of victory.
Chinese acrobats climb high into the sky at the Sawang Boriboon Foundation.