For the first year in decades, I could hear the local residents complaining about the weather, as this year seems to be cooler and the cool season longer than ever. Many say that the temperature will drop to a cooler level every year for several days, but this chilliness has been around for weeks now. People in Pattaya have never faced “winter” like we are witnessing this year.
Pattaya’s tourist season seems to be quiet and not as active as last year. Some people say the slow season is due to the many protests happening in the country’s capital. Many have canceled their holidays here, which is a major loss for Thailand’s tourism market.
Some of the St. George’s Congregation enjoying a delicious Xmas lunch at Dicey Reilly’s after attending the morning church service.
Nevertheless, the local activities and various events are still going on at full speed. Christmas and New Year’s Countdown events are still popular, so there are still many attractions going on.
Years ago, Christmas used to be solely a religious holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ. People gave presents to each other to commemorate the giving of presents to the baby Jesus by the wise men. Over the years, Christmas has become for many a purely secular event. Many people see it as an excuse to have big parties to which they invite all of their friends to celebrate.
Here in Pattaya, for the majority of the foreign residents, this is the case. They hold parties, attend others, and indulge in rich food. There are both ups and downs in this period of the year as people cannot predict what may happen. The population expands, more people are around at night. Some sleep, some don’t, leading to increased traffic accidents and crime.
However, in a foreign country, many foreigners feel desperately alone at this time and if they have been let down by a local person whom they thought loved them they can be prone to committing suicide. Actually worldwide this season can be one of the most dangerous periods for suicides.
For Christians, Christmas still is mainly a religious festival and even here in a non-Christian culture they still find ways in which to celebrate in much the same way as they did in their home countries. They attend church and, here in Pattaya, many of the major denominations are represented. They sing carols, listen to sermons about the birth of the Christ child and are reminded of why this child came into the world. Often after the service they have fellowship in the church and then some of them go out for lunch together.
Most locals in Thailand are willing to celebrate any holiday regardless of the fact that they may not fully understand its meaning. Therefore, everyone is able to celebrate and have a good time together, no matter what the reason.