ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
A quiet day, except for firecrackers, in Asean
In the midst of news about the upheaval in Eqypt and other less consequential news offerings, Asean countries slow down just a bit to kick off the 15-day Chinese New Year.
Stock markets in China are closed as many Chinese will head overseas to celebrate the New Year of the rabbit. However, in Vietnam, it is the Tet New Year, the year of the cat. It actually started last night. Driving home one could see many altars placed in front of shop houses with candles lit and “money” being burned to appease ancestors.
Since Chinese New Year is a big holiday, similar to Christmas in the States, it is not unusual to burn spirit money at that time as "gifts" to those who have already died.
Most Asean countries have a significant Chinese population with Thailand having the largest number. Chinese New Year is prime time for Bangkok’s Chinatown district, Yaowarat, with lion dances, firecrackers and red Chinese lanterns omnipresent. It’s quite a show, noisy and entertaining.
Singapore and Penang, Malaysia also have large celebrations and are worthwhile to attend during the Chinese New Year celebration.
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