Year of The Monkey Arrives

BenarNews Staff
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Acrobats perform the lion dance heralding the Chinese New Year, at Siam Paragon Mall in Bangkok, Feb. 7, 2016. [BenarNews]


A child puts an envelope containing money into the mouth of the barongsai (dancing lion) during a performance at the Amurva Bhumi Vihara in Karet, South Jakarta, Feb. 7, 2016. [BenarNews]


A performer plays a traditional Chinese drum at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 7, 2016. [BenarNews]


A street vendor in Thailand offers good luck charms to customers, Feb. 7, 2016. [BenarNews]


Tourists take snapshots at a Chinese New Year’s display in Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 7, 2016. [BenarNews]


Chinese monks lead overnight prayers at a temple in Bangkok, Feb. 7, 2016. [BenarNews]


A man lights incense at the Amurva Bhumi Vihara in Karet, South Jakarta, Feb. 7, 2016. [BenarNews]


Yee sang is Malaysia’s traditional festive dish for Chinese New Year. [BenarNews]


A Chinese family in Kuala Lumpur partakes the yee sang at their holiday reunion dinner, symbolizing abundance for the new year. [BenarNews]


People crowd next to the entrance of the Dharma Sakti Vihara in Glodok, Central Jakarta, where Chinese citizens often give away angpao (envelopes with money) during new year’s celebrations, Feb. 8, 2016. [BenarNews]

Ancient Chinese celebrated the “Spring Festival” for more than a few millennia before it became better known as the Chinese New Year.

The celebration normally spans three days. Across Southeast Asia, Chinese and non-Chinese  turned out in droves to usher in the Year of the Monkey.

In Thailand, more than 9 million descendants of Chinese who started migrating to the then Kingdom of Siam nearly three centuries ago, celebrated their cultural heritage nationwide, starting on Feb. 7.

The most popular Chinese community in Thailand is in Bangkok’s Yaowaraj neighborhood (the so-called China town), where food lovers can enjoy a wide array of Chinese cuisine.

Thai Princess Sirindhorn is a usual guest of the Chinese community when the lunar new year rolls around. She presided over Yaowaraj’s New Year fair, which also coincides with the 40-year celebration of Thailand’s relationship with China.

In Malaysia, families from the ethnic Chinese minority reunited to share Yee sang, a dish traditionally served during new year celebrations.

And in Indonesia, ethnic Chinese flocked to the Jin De Yuan Temple, known as Dharma Sakti Vihara, in Glodok, Central Jakarta. The oldest temple in Jakarta, the Dharma Sakti Vihara attracts many worshippers and tourists alike.

Even though fire damaged the mid-17th century the temple last March, worshipers were excited to attend festivities inside while people gathered outside waiting for angpao, cash-gift envelopes that Chinese people give away as part of their new year’s tradition.


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