Chinese New Year festival shopping starts

Thais of Chinese descent nationwide started to shop food, fruits, and other goods to celebrate and mark the coming Chinese New Year this weekend.

Although there will be no official celebration of the Chinese New Year this year in several large Chinese communities in both Bangkok and the provinces as the country is still mourning the passing of the beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thais of Chinese descent would continue to do their traditional activities as usual, particularly family reunions.

Samphatawong district chief Yuthana Pamai said that the organising committee of the Chinese New Year festival on Yaowarat has decided not to hold the annual Chinese New Year celebration at Yaowarat or Bangkok China Town as the country is still in the mourning process.

Instead, the committee decided to hold religious ceremony to pay homage to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed on Oct 13 last year.

But lanterns which are the symbol of the celebration will be decorated at China Town to mark the approach of Chinese New Year.

Meanwhile Thais with Chinese ancestors in Hat Yai in the South and Chiang Mai in the North are out to shop for foods and fruits to worship their ancestors.

In Hat Yai, several shops have been decorated with lanterns and banners with New Year messages of good luck.

The organising committee will not hold the celebration but will only organise a special event at Hat Yai Walking Street to feature and show statues of Chinese gods as good chance for tourist to pay respect.

Security in Hat Yai is now tightened as the tourist spot is prepared for the influx of tourists from Malaysia, Singapore and China this week.

Meanwhile in Chiang Mai’s Wororos market, Thai Chinese also crowded the market to buy food and fruits in preparation for the coming Chinese New Year.

Commerce officials said the Chinese festival boosts overall sales by 30 per cent.

They also said so far, no complaints about unfair goods price have been reported.

Bank of Thailand’s assistant governor Woraporn Tangsaghasaksri said that demand of banknotes during the Chinese New Year was expected to go higher with forecast that total money withdrawals during the 2-week period would exceed 80 billion baht.

He assured of no shortage of banknotes of all value and sufficiently in reserve for the commercial banks.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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