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Sunday, February 14, 2010
Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, and a Wedding... All on one day!
Feb. 14th was an extra special day in Thailand. Of course, you know it is Valentine's Day (called Love Day here). And this is a celebration that is not traditional in Thailand but is becoming a common celebration among couples. One couple, Jurirat and Sompap, members of Bowin UMC, decided to get married on Valentine's Day. This was the first wedding at the church, so everyone was very excited.
Here are some pictures from the wedding. Christian weddings in Thailand tend to be very Western with Thai elements added. Notice Jurirat and Sompap using a sword to cut the cake.... very Thai.
Feb. 14th was also a huge annual celebration this year because of Chinese New Year. The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar, so Chinese New Year comes on a different day each year. This year it coincided with Valentine's Day.
Chinese New Year is a loud celebration, full of firecrackers and drums. Children visit their grandparents on this day to honor them and to receive gifts. Chinese New Year is the time Thai children receive many gifts, it is comparable to Christmas in America.
One part of Chinese New Year that our grandchildren, Madeline and Isaiah love, are all of the bright red Chinese lanterns that are hanging in the streets and in all the stores and shops. It reminds us of hanging Christmas lights on our homes back in America.
By the way, did you know that Thai people celebrate New Year's Day three times in the year. There is Western New Year on January 1. There is Chinese New Year in February. And then in April, there is Thai New Year, which is a week long festival called Songkran.
Songkran is a lot of fun. People toss water on each other (in Chonburi, they put ice in the water to edge up the fun factor). People also smudge wet clay on each other's faces (during any other time of year, touching someone's face is highly offensive, but that taboo is suspended for this celebration). Our house is on the main road, so we are at ground zero for the festivies. We don't expect much sleep for that week.
Thank you for praying for us and the mission in Thailand. We need your prayers.