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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 18 – Chinese Lunar New Year's Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Thailand Series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Thai holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 18, Chinese Lunar New Year's Day. In Thai, it’s called วันตรุษจีน (wan dtrùt-jiin).
There are plenty of Thai people with Chinese heritage. In this lesson, we’re going to talk about Chinese New Year, which is celebrated on the 1st day of the 1st month according to the Chinese calendar. Though this day is not recognized as a public holiday, like it is in China, there are still a number of widely held celebrations. There are three major days that cover this period.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
How many ethnic Chinese people are there in Thailand?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The first day of Chinese New Year’s celebrations is called “Pay Day.” Two days prior to Chinese New Year is when Chinese-Thai people go out to buy fresh food, snacks, and fruits to prepare for the holiday. Over this period, the Yaowarat market, where most Chinese-Thai people in Thailand live, is busy all day long. Moreover, Chinese companies in Thailand take this opportunity to give red envelopes, or แต๊ะเอีย (dtáe-iia), to their employees on this day.
The second day is called “Worship Day” which is one day before the Chinese New Year. This is regarded as the last day of the year by Chinese people. On this day, Chinese-Thais wake up early and cook food, or อาหาร (aa-hăan). When they finish, they bring this food, along with other snacks and fruits, to worship ancestors and deities. Afterwards, they will burn silver and gold paper, or กระดาษ (grà-dàat), in order to wish for a windfall and greater fortune, leading to a peaceful life. In the end, they light firecrackers to drive away bad luck.
The third day is called “Travel Day”, which is also Chinese New Year's day. On this day, Chinese-Thai people dress beautifully in red, or สีแดง (sǐi-daaeng), and visit relatives to pay their respects. Another tradition on this day is to give a “Red Envelope” or New-year money to children as a symbol of good fortune and advancement in their career.
About one week before the Chinese New Year, Chinese-Thai people take the opportunity to clean up their houses. It’s believed that this act will help drive away bad spirits from households in order to start the New Year with goodness and purity. Doors and windows are decorated with red ornaments and red paper with characters written on them, such as Longevity, Wealth, and Prosperous Life.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
How many ethnic Chinese people are there in Thailand?
There are currently around 9.4 million ethnic Chinese in Thailand, which is around 14% of the total population. Thailand is the country to which the most Chinese people have immigrated, and these people usually live together in groups in major cities.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Are there people of Chinese ethnicity in your country as well?
Leave us a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!