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24/01/2009 - Phuket celebrates Chinese New Year.  24/01/2009 - 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 have taken great measures to ensure 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.  The TAT have flown in 179 performers from seven Chinese provinces to take part in this years celebration which will also coincide with the old Phuket Town Annual Festival.

Excited onlookers 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' who 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 doorstep.

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

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

This year, is the year of the Ox, the powerful, industrious beast.  According to Chinese horoscopes, people born under the sign of the Ox are regarded as stable and persevering,  They succeed through hard work and sustained effort and are not involved in 'get rich quick schemes'.  The new President of the United States, Barrack Obama, was born under the sign of the Ox so many will be hoping he lives up to the fundamentals of his sign.
Personnaly I was born under the sign of the Rooster, signified by a flamboyant and feisty personality.  People born under this sign are also known for 'telling it like it is', I think this is a good and unusual characteristic for a real estate agent selling property in Phuket.

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