During Chinese New Year, Thais of Chinese heritage shop for raw materials to cook offerings to pay respect to sacred relics and ancestors.
Some houses ordered Chinese offerings from regular suppliers to represent their praise with the belief that foods and ceremonies must be decorated with red colors. Each of them represents virtues.
For example, chicken means elegance, title, career advancement. Duck means purity. Pork means abundance and being comfortable. Desserts, such as Chinese New Year’s cake and stuffed dough pyramids, mean smoothness in life. Fluffy rice flour cake (khanom thuay fu) and Thai sponge cake represent prosperity, as well as fruits have the same meaning.
Due to price increases in consumer products, Chinese-Thais must reduce their offerings, but still complete different kinds of sets according to tradition.
Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 1 with Jan. 30 used for visiting relatives and shopping. Jan. 31 is the “day for making offerings to spirits and ancestors.”
Prapa Jitjum, a tom yum noodle vendor in the Naklua New Market, told Sophon Cable TV that she has sold offering materials in Pattaya for 40 years.
Most customers ordering are regulars. Although prices this year for pork and other staples increased, orders remained steady. However, the average size of each order decreased.
The shop still sells the offerings at last year’s prices, cutting profits, but keeping customers happy.
The shop’s offerings are divided into two sets, a small pack with a duck, a chicken and a small pork loin with skin for 500-600 baht. The big set includes a big duck, free-range chicken and a big pork loin with skin at 800-850 baht.
This year, Prapa Jitjum prepared offerings including 400 chickens, 350 ducks and 150 pieces of pork loin for regular customers. She doesn’t have enough staff to create sets for the general public or new customers.
Pattaya will hold worship ceremonies to pay respect to sacred relics and ancestors with a dragon and lion show for prosperity on Feb. 1 in three places:
7 a.m. – King Taksin the Great Monument at Pattaya City Hall
10 a.m. – Prince of Chumphon monument at the Royal Thai Navy Radio Station
11 a.m. – Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation in Naklua
Pattaya decorated the Naklua Market, Pattaya Beach and Jomtien Beach with Chinese lanterns to welcome this year’s Chinese New Year Festival.