The name Nakhon Sawan translates to "heavenly city" and between the incredible food and the explosion of cultural pride, a heaven it was. The name translates to heavenly city and that’s exactly what I experience for a this magical long weekend. They are known for the most elaborate Chinese New Year Parade with an in a spectacular procession of floats, acrobats, and a magnificent dragon dance. This town has one of the biggest Chinese communities in all of Thailand, and with that, they bring their traditions. Driving through the main streets of Nakhon Sawan, thousands of red lanterns line the streets, while the locals bring out their finest red clothing. What appears to be a small town northern town with a few large franchises one day, became a crowded epicenter for celebration overnight.
Before I talk about the amazing parade, let's look at the amazing food we ate. Fresh, cheap, and made with love, my mouth waters thinking about it right now.
With all Thai holidays and festivals, brings food stands and stalls. On the grounds of the city center, we experienced large fair with food stands, photo ops, stages, and carnival games. I even had my luck winning few baby fish for my friend’s mother’s pond! In another section, the streed was covered in red carpet and where there was Chinese opera, dancing, buddhist shrine, and outdoor movie theater showing old Chinese films.
The parade exceeded all my expectations. It gives Disney a run for their money. It was as grand as Macy’s Day Parade, but filled with locals and Thai tourists. You could feel the pride with every smile, step, and jump. Organizations and companies build their floats and practice their routines for months in preparation for today. Like any great town event, they manage to top themselves every year. The dragon gets longer every year, with dozens of dancers breathing life into the massive puppet. It also lights up, so a pickup truck with a generator trails behind the beast 10 feet away. Growing in Pennsylvania, I participated in many parades with my Philippine American Cultural Association, and watching these young kids decked out head to toe with parents taking pictures and giving them water took me back to those simpler days.