Chinese New Year celebrations stark reminder of Covid’s impact on Phuket

The hope of Phuket reviving tourism for the Chinese New Year is dimming with each passing hour today as streets remain quiet with only locals visiting the area’s Chinese shrines in a stark reminder of the Covid pandemic having lasting effects on Thailand. Even decorations seem to be less vibrant than previous years as Thai-Chinese placed minimal decor outside their homes in the Phuket Old Town area.

Thalang and Phang Nga roads signify the decline in festivities according to the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. Pud Cho Shrine on Soi Phuthon, off Ranong Road has also seen less visitors turning out to take part in the annual blessing ceremonies that include making merit. Of those that did show up, the color red, an auspicious color for the Chinese, didn’t seem to make it into their wardrobe choices.

When asked about why they wore other colours, visitors responded to PR Phuket by saying that financial reasons were the main driver in choosing to not buy new, red Chinese New Year clothing. And, when asked about the somewhat thin gathering of visitors, their responses pointed to financial troubles again, saying they could not afford to travel home to celebrate the holiday with their families.

“Most of them have only a small ritual, and give red envelopes [ang pao] to the children in the family.”

Despite the dwindling numbers of those celebrating the holiday, PR Phuket is reminding its residents that they are invited to join the Annual Worship Festival 2021 as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The event at the Phuket Thai Hua Museum on Krabi Rd, Phuket Town, will be held on Friday, February 19, from 10:30pm.

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Those who are interested in attending the event can contact the Tourism Development and Promotion Division at Phuket City Municipality at 076-214306.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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