Vol. IV No. 8 - Saturday February 19 - February 25. 2005
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FEATURES
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chinese New Year heralded in with bangs and cymbals

Love is all around us

Chinese New Year heralded in with bangs and cymbals

Chiang Mai stages fantastic two day festival in Lao Jow Street

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Lao Jow Street is renowned as the ancient Chinese-Thai quarter in Chiang Mai, sometimes called the Chiang Mai Chinatown and, naturally, that is where the celebration for Chinese New Year took place, with the old year being chased away and the new year welcomed in.

Thais and foreign tourists were encouraged by the festivities to spend their money and celebrate the New Year in Chinese-Thai traditional style. Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, presided over the opening ceremony of the grand spectacle, which lasted two days. Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai’s mayor welcomed the guests, “On behalf of the Chiang Mai municipality and Chinese-Thai citizens ... The aim of these festivities is to preserve Chinese customs in Thailand,” he said.

Colorful and noisy processions streamed from Chinese clubs, foundations, schools and associations, such as the Tai Chi See Kong Healthy Club, the Yunan Chinese Association, and the Chongfa Sin Soeng School. The Junior Tiger Club gave a fantastic performance of the dragon procession, lion worship procession, smiling joker and the three-man high jugglers. Bands and Chinese clubs provided the music along Lao Jow Street and Simon Cabaret the show.

The lion and dragon climbing tall ‘telephone’ poles was a favorite, particularly when a lithe little girl also climbed the eight meter pole.

Miss Chinatown 2020?

Very exciting, colorful and noisy performance, much to the astonishment of thousands of spectators.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat presents certificates of appreciation in front of many VIPs.

The friendly folks of the third gender had a great time in the parade.

The marching band gets ready in front of the Rydges Amora Tapae Hotel.

Lion dance on Thapae Road.

Participants eager to start the parade.

Beware of the dragon and the lion.


Love is all around us

Many unusual Valentine weddings in Chiang Mai

Staff reporters

It was an action filled week in Chiang Mai with Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day so close together.

Valentine’s Day, synonymous with romance, has become a natural choice for weddings. However, for some it is not enough to just marry on Valentines Day, there had to be some excitement added. This was a huge wedding ceremony, drawing the attention of almost 1000 tourists and was promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and various tour operators.

Lampang girl Panida Anansuwanchai and Andreas Dietrichs from Germany. Before returning to Germany, the couple plans to stay in Lampang for one year. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

In Lampang, three couples (Thai, Thai-American and Thai-German) were married on the back of elephants at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Hangchat District. In addition, four more couples renewed their wedding vows.

The grooms were in traditional Thai Northern costumes while riding on elephants during the marriage ceremonies while the bride followed behind. It was traditional and unique for the participants, the newlyweds, and their families. It included a Khan Maak procession, the traditional tray of gifts presented by the groom to the bride’s parents, a Shoo Khoe ceremony, the bride begging ceremony, various dance shows, the Bai Sri Shoo Khan wrist-tying ceremony, everything was included. A fun event, but unforgettable for the newlyweds.

Andreas’ parents came from Germany to witness this unique occasion. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

One of the couples, Peeraphan Thanyapalit and Roongrit Chinnabutr, when asked why they made the decision to marry on elephants said, “We are both alumni of Chiang Mai University where we also fell in love. And the CMU logo is an elephant. When we first heard about the possibility of getting married on elephants, we saw this as a twist of fate. And here we are today,” the smiling bride added.

Another no less spectacular wedding took place in the early hours of Monday morning, when seven couples promised to each other to stay together in good days and in bad days, in a hot air balloons just before sunrise.

But it was not only romance and weddings on February 14th, it was also a day for friends to get together and enjoy each others company, a day when the flower shops in and around the city could not handle the amount of customers, and the cafes and restaurants which were decorated with hearts, roses, and cupids did not have a single empty seat.

Viriya and Piroj Kanthasen renewed their vows on Valentines Day, in the presence of their son. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

Frenchman Jean-Louis Galode and his bride Kanokorn, with Nai Amphoer in the hot air balloon, proudly show off their marriage certificate. (Photo by Watcharapong Jingkaujai)

71-year-old Vietnam veteran Barton Harold Wittekind leads the procession. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

The brides’ mothers knot the holy ribbon around the wrists of the newly-weds. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

Ancient means of transportation - on the back of an elephant. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

The proud grooms prepare to face their respective brides. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

The beautifully decorated elephants were accompanied by traditionally dressed “heralds” carrying flower bouquets. (Photo by Saksit Meesubkwang)

All seven couples pose in front of hundreds of ‘orange’ balloons after they had exchanged marriage vows in the sky. (Photo by Watcharapong Jingkaujai)



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