Chinese Lantern Festival Bangkok 2020
Chinese Lantern Festival Bangkok 2020
Check out the fantastc lanterns at the 2020 Chinese Lantern Festival at Siam Tai Tien Kong Temple
The Chinese Lantern Festival at Siam Tai Tien Kong Temple
The Chinese Lantern Festival ( Luan Xiao Festival or Spring Lantern Festival) is an annual event held during Chinese New Year and celebrated by Chinese communities around the world. Traditionally lanterns are displayed at homes, public places & businesses. There are several lantern festival in Thailand. The most colorful Chinese Lantern Festival in Bangkok is held at the Siam Tai Tien Kong Temple in Samut Prakan which is also known as the Katanyu Foundation. The foundation is housed in a large white building with the temple located behind it. Though technically located in Samut Prakan province the temple can easily be reached from Bangkok city by BTS train. The festival should not be confused with the floating lantern festival of Yi Peng which is the most famous lantern festival in Thailand.
When is the Chinese Lantern Festival?
The Chinese lantern festival in Bangkok starts the day before Chinese New Year. In 2020 the festival will run from January 24th until February 24th. Lantern Festival Day is known as Luan Xiao and celebrates the end of Chinese New Year. For Chinese people the lantern festival in Thailand represents reconciliation, peace & forgiveness. This year it is on February 8th. This is the best day to visit as there will be lots of activities including dragon & lion dances and fireworks.
The lanterns are displayed in the large temple courtyard and gardens. There are over a thousand colorful lanterns. There are hundreds of circular red hanging lanterns decorated with Chinese calligraphy & symbols. The red color symbolizes good fortune.
The Lantern Shapes
Other lanterns are shaped like humans, gods & goddesses, animals, plants, flowers, sea creatures, dragons, fish & even a train crossing a bridge. The lanterns are imported from Taiwan and are made from paper or silk with wire or metal frames. The central lanterns in the courtyard are all important Chinese gods and goddesses. The biggest is Guan Yin, the goddess of compassion & mercy. There are also the Wudi, the five deities who represent the five manifestations of the supreme god of heaven. The god of wealth is also present in the garden area holding a pot of golden coins in his hands.
Chinese Lantern Festival Origins
The origins of the festival are thought to date back over 2000 years. History tells us that lanterns were first used during the Eastern Han Dynasty from the year 25-220. Legend has it that the Emperor Han Mingdi, a Buddhist, discovered Buddhist monks lighting lanterns in temples as a show of respect to the Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. He then ordered all temples, homes, and royal palaces to light lanterns, which later became known as the Lantern Festival.
What do the lanterns symbolize?
Colors are important. Red symbolizes good fortune, White for good health, Green for growth, Yellow for good luck in school, Pink for luck in love, Orange for wealth, Light Blue & Purple to make your dreams a reality. The round shape of hanging lanterns symbolizes the full moon. Other shapes symbolize qualities. The Dragon for strength, Flowers for happiness, Trees & Plants for growth.
What is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit is just before sunset to avoid the crowds. If you arrive early check out the temple interior. The lantern lights are turned on at sunset. The best time for taking photos is when the sky turns dark blue. More people start to arrive after 7pm. The lanterns are on display until 22.00. At the temple entrance are stalls selling Thai snacks and drinks. There is a market to the side of the Katanyu Foundation though this may not be open every evening.
Siam Tai Tien Kong Temple
Make sure to check out the temple interior which contains a big central shrine as well as many smaller shrines to various Chinese gods and deities. It is one of the most beautiful Chinese temples in Bangkok. The exterior roof features many animal statues that are considered auspicious in Chinese culture. Just outside the doors to the inner temple are two large guardian lions carved from jade. They are said to be the biggest in Thailand. Many of the Thai people who visit the lantern festival also stop to make merit inside the temple.
How to get to the Chinese Lantern Festival?
The temple is on Sukhumvit Road in Samut Prakan about 400 meters from Ancient Siam. To get there take the BTS to Kheha station (the end of the line). Then take a Songtaew (share taxi) number 36 from under the station. The cost is 10 baht. Pay the driver when you get off. It is approximately a ten minute journey. The songtaew run every few minutes. Look on your left hand side for the temple entrance arch which is 400 meters past the entrance to Ancient City. To get back to Kheha cross the footbridge and take the 36 songtaew again. Alternatively you can take a meter taxi which will cost about 50 baht from Kheha station.
Where is the Chinese Lantern Festival in Bangkok?
Address: Katanyu Foundation, 5 Moo 7, Sukhumvit Road, Bang Pu, Samut Prakan
Opening Hours: 17.00-22.00. The temple opens at 08.00.
Getting There: BTS Kheha Station (exit 3 or 5). Then take Songtaew 36 or Taxi.