The inaugural Phuket Peranakan Festival 2023 was officially announced on May 18, taking place at the historic Charter Bank building. Led by the president of Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor), Rewat Areerob, in collaboration with the Thai Peranakan Association, TIEFA, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket Municipality, and Old Town community, the festival is set to elevate the region’s cultural heritage on an international stage.
The Phuket Peranakan Festival is an ambitious attempt to spotlight the rich cultural tapestry of Phuket, renowned for its Peranakan or “Baba-Nyonya” heritage. The Peranakan are a unique ethnocultural group, descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago, including southern Thailand, between the 15th and 17th centuries. These communities forged a unique culture blending Chinese, Malay, and Indonesian influences, resulting in distinct traditions, language, clothing, and cuisine.
Scheduled for June 23-25, the festival promises a spectacular showcase of Peranakan culture, embodied in an international carnival procession featuring over 700 participants and spanning 1.2 kilometers. Key streets in Phuket’s old town, including Phang Nga and Thalang, will be transformed into a vibrant display of Baba-Nyonya past and present. The procession will recount stories of rituals, customs, and the unique culture of Baba-Nyonya through an immersive blend of light, sound, and dynamic performances.
Further elevating the atmosphere, locals from the old town are invited to don traditional Baba and Kebaya outfits, adding to the festival’s cultural vibrancy. The Thai Peranakan Association sees this as an opportunity to rekindle local traditions and foster unity within the community.
Visitors from all over Thailand and the world are welcomed to experience the festivities and join in the parade, known for its lively and participatory nature. The event’s activities kick off at 4:30 PM daily, offering free entry to all.
The Phuket Peranakan Festival 2023 is more than just a spectacle; it’s a celebration of the melting pot that is Phuket, a locale known for its unique blend of cultures. The festival’s ability to uplift the Peranakan heritage testifies to Phuket’s diverse cultural tapestry, with a vibrant mix of Thai, Chinese, Malay, and European influences shaping its rich history and promising future.
Stay tuned for updates and detailed programming for the event. The Phuket Peranakan Festival 2023 is poised to be a landmark celebration that both honors a unique cultural heritage and offers a vibrant showcase for locals and visitors alike.