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01/02/2011 - Phuket Thailand celebrates Chinese New Year

01/02/2011 - Phuket Thailand celebrates Chinese New Year

Phuket, Thailand: The streets of Phuket, Thailand are decorated with Chinese lanterns, firecrackers are flashing everywhere and there are dragons in the street, which can only mean one thing - the start of Chinese New Year.

For the many people of Chinese descent who call Phuket home, this is the most important celebration of the year and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have gone to great lengths to ensure this year's celebrations are better than ever.

The festivities in Phuket will officially kick-off at 4pm on February 3rd with a firework display and an acrobatics show at Sanam Chai in Phuket Town.

Traditional Chinese food will be available from more than one hundred food stalls, there will be Lion Dancing in the streets and Kung Fu demonstrations.

The fifteen day festival closes with a lantern festival, which is timed to coincide with the first full moon of the Chinese New Year.

As with any ancient festival, Chinese New Year has its fair share of superstition and legend.

Chinese folklore tells of a mythical beast, 'Nian', who would roam the streets on the same day each year, feasting on livestock, crops and even the villagers themselves.

The Chinese villagers were so scared that they would hide in their homes, leaving food on their doorsteps in the hope that the monster would leave them in peace.

Some say a young boy dressed in a red cape came to their rescue - others that a wise old man rode the beast out of town.

Both stories tell of bamboo being set ablaze, with the flames and loud cracking noises from the fire scaring Nian away.

To this day firecrackers and red lanterns are lit to discourage the beast from ever returning.

2011 is the year of the Rabbit.

According to the Chinese horoscope, people born under the sign of the Rabbit are affectionate, caring and gentle with strong family ties. They hate conflict and enjoy the good things in life.

Famous rabbits include Albert Einstein, Frank Sinatra and Brad Pitt.

Personally, I was born under the sign of the Rooster, which indicates a flamboyant and feisty personality. People born under this sign are also known for 'telling it like it is' - I think this is probably a good and unusual trait for someone promoting international real estate.

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