- Title: Red vs black: Thai Chinese face fashion dilemma for Lunar New Year
- Date: 24th January 2017
- Summary: BANGKOK, THAILAND (JANUARY 22, 2017) (REUTERS) CHINATOWN/ SHOPS SELLING LUNAR NEW YEAR TRADITIONAL CLOTHES RESIDENT FROM THAI SOUTH, TANAGRIT LEARTSKRITANAPA LOOKING AT RED SHIRTS TANAGRIT UNBUTTONING SHIRT TANAGRIT LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) RESIDENT FROM THAI SOUTH, TANAGRIT LEARTSKRITANAPA, 60, SAYING: "Most of the people understand that this is for Chinese New Year, that we have to wear bright auspicious colours to bring luck into our lives. At the same time, deep in our hearts, we feel sorrow and we don't forget our (late) king because he's still living in our hearts." CARS DRIVING PAST IN CHINATOWN VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LOOKING AT LUNAR NEW YEAR ORNAMENTS PEOPLE LOOKING AT TRADITIONAL CLOTHES BLACK AND BLUE TRADITIONAL BLOUSE ON DISPLAY NEXT TO RED TRADITIONAL BLOUSE PEOPLE LOOKING AT CLOTHES IN ROADSIDE STALL WOMAN LOOKING AT RED BLOUSES RED AND GOLD BLOUSES (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) BANGKOK RESIDENT, SUVANNEE SUTTILERTKUN, SAYING: "It is because we still have to show respect that we are mourning King Rama IX." PEOPLE LOOKING AT CLOTHES (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) SHOPKEEPER OF JE OUNN, SUWANEE PORNTEU, 51, SAYING: "This year we have black, gold and red colours...some of the people will still be wearing red. There's been a difference from last year because this year (the number of people wearing red) is fewer." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LOOKING AT TRADITIONAL DRESSES BANGKOK, THAILAND (JANUARY 19, 2017) (REUTERS) PEOPLE IN THE QUEUE TO PRAY AT THE GRAND PALACE VARIOUS OF MEN SEATED WOMEN AND GIRL SEATED GIRL SEATED PEOPLE WALKING ON THE STREET THAIS (IN BLACK) WALKING IN FRONT OF TOURISTS (IN COLOURFUL CLOTHES) THAIS GATHERED PORTRAIT OF KING VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING PAST PORTRAIT OF KING
- Embargoed: 7th February 2017 02:34
- Keywords: Lunar New Year Thailand Chinese mourning 100 days period black red gold auspicious clothes
- Location: BANGKOK, THAILAND
- City: BANGKOK, THAILAND
- Country: Thailand
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00160FVYO5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Bright red dresses, gold embroidery and colourful accessories normally would have been the mode du jour for many of Thailand's ethnic Chinese celebrating Lunar New Year on Saturday (January 28).
Striking colours, especially red, are believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune.
But this year, many fear donning colourful clothes could be seen as disrespectful.
Thais have been sticking to sombre colours, like black, white, and grey, to mourn the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on October 13 last year. He was the world's longest-reigning monarch and was seen as a father figure for generations of Thais of all political persuasions.
Although the traditional mourning period of 100 days ended last Friday (January 20), the transition back to colour has been slow.
The year-long mourning for government officials isn't mandatory for all Thais, but most people shopping for new clothes on Sunday (January 22) were in monochrome.
Bangkok resident Suvannee Suttilertkun said she would be wearing a black traditional dress with gold embroidery.
"It is because we still have to show respect that we are mourning King Rama IX," she said, referring to the monarchy title of King Bhumibol.
Others, like Tanagrit Leartskritanapa, have chosen to stick with bright red for Lunar New Year.
"Most of the people understand that this is for Chinese New Year, that we have to wear bright auspicious colours to bring luck into our lives. At the same time, deep in our hearts, we feel sorrow and we don't forget our (late) king because he's still living in our hearts," the 60-year-old said.
Many shopkeepers in Chinatown said there is a drop in sales of red clothes, but they have brought in more gold, silver and black alternatives as replacements.
There are more than 9.3 million ethnic Chinese in Thailand, making up about 11 percent of the entire population, according to data in 2012 used by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, an international organisation based in Berlin.
But the numbers do not include those with partial ethnic Chinese ancestry, who also consider themselves to be Thai Chinese and celebrate Lunar New Year.
S.P. Somtow, a Thai-American author and a well-known social critic, said most Thai Chinese speak Thai and are well-integrated in society, and said he doesn't think wearing red will cause tensions during the festive season.
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