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13/02/2010 - Phuket celebrates Chinese New Year.  13/02/2010 - Phuket celebrates Chinese New Year.

13/02/2010 - Phuket celebrates Chinese New Year.

The streets of Phuket are adorned with Chinese lanterns, fire crackers are erupting and there are dragons in the street, which can only mean one thing - the start of Chinese New Year.

For the many Chinese desecendants living in Phuket, especially in old Phuket Town, this is the most important celebration of the year and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have gone to  great lengths to ensure that this year's celebrations are better than ever.

Phuket has strong cultural and social ties with China, especially the town of Yantai, which is it's 'twin' city. This year the TAT have flown in ten entertainment groups from China, which include acrobats, Shaolin Kung Fu experts, Tibetan dancers, and a mask dance from Sichuan; the performers will occupy a specially erected stage at Queen Sirikit Park and there will also be street parades of locals in traditional costume.

Spectators will be treated to a cultural display of dragon and lion dancing, Chinese opera, folk dancing and Kung Fu demonstrations; better keep out of the way of that one!

Traditional food will be available from local restaurants and food carts, and for the romantics amongst you, Tor Jan boats will sail majestically along the Bang Yai canal which borders the Queen Sirikit Park.

Chinese New Year traditionally marks the end of the Autumn harvest and the arrival of the spring planting season. The fifteen day festival closes with a lantern festival, which is timed to coincide with the first full moon of the New Year.

As with any age old festival, there are superstitions and legends attributed to it.  It is said in Chinese tradiiton that the New Year celebrations are to ward off the mythical beast, 'Nian' which would roam the streets feasting on livestock, crops and even the villagers themselves.  In order to keep the beast at bay the villagers would leave tasty morsels of food and delicacies on their doorsteps.

The legend has it that a brave young boy, wearing a red cape, some may call him an early version of Superman, tried to ward off the beast.  Villagers honor the boy by decorating thier houses with red lanterns, scrolls and firecrackers.  It is not known if the boy lived or died as a result of his efforts.

The tradition continues today and the young are given small red packets filled with money, normally of even numbers only, except for 4 which is considered to be a very unlucky number in China.

The new year, is the year of the Tiger. According to Chinese horoscopes, people born under the sign of the Tiger are regarded as courageous, active, and self-assured.  The Tiger is a natural born leader and symbolizes power, passion and daring. Tigers don't give up no matter how frustrated they become and are often quick tempered.  Famous tigers include Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise.
 
I'm not a Tiger, but a Rooster, known for my flamboyant and feisty personality.  A rooster is also known to 'tell it like it is', which I think is a good characteristic to have in my profession.

To see for yourself if I am true to my sign, visit us at The Worldwide Property Show at The Suntec City Exhibition Centre, Singapore on 27th and 28th February 2010, booth D7. We will have a number of exclusive deals and promotions only available at the show and also an opportunity to win a luxury villa holiday in Phuket!







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