Thailand Pays New Year Homage to the Late King
A series of events for the New Year period have been arranged so that Thai people and international visitors can pay homage to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The King’s birthday on 5th December saw people gather across the capital city, Bangkok, to remember the monarch. A range of traditional New Year celebrations have also been organised as a mark of respect for the King.
“2016 has been a milestone year for the Thai people, and we want to ensure that December marks a time of reflection; a time when we can some together as a people and truly appreciate the amazing work that His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej carried out during his reign,” said Khun Tanasak Patimapragorn, deputy prime minister general of Thailand. “As the new year dawns, it is the perfect time for the people to unite in their Thainess and to welcome guests from around the world as we look with confidence towards the future.”
On New Year’s Eve, a mass nationwide prayer event has been organised, where participants will take part in Buddhist chanting. The praying will take place at many temples and shrines across the whole country, in addition to some holy sites in other neighbouring ASEAN countries.
Gathering at temples to pray and make merit has long been a traditional way to welcome the new year, but this year’s events are set to be even more special. Once again, the nationwide praying event will begin with an 89-second silence to commemorate the life of the late King, with each second marking one year of his life. At 9pm on New Year’s Day, candles will be lit and prayers will take place to welcome in the new year, as well as honouring the late Ling. Many Thai people will also seize the opportunity to visit nine auspicious temples to receive blessings for the forthcoming year. Locals, as well as visitors from overseas, are welcome to join these events.
“Everyone, including visitors to Thailand is invited to join the prayers, which are dedicated to the Thai nation, religion and the Thai monarchy, which make up the three pillars of the Thai state. We would like people to get out and explore Thailand as the new year ends and everyone has a long New Year break,” says Khun Yuthasak Susaporn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
“Thailand is entering a new era with a new King, so this is the perfect time to truly find out what it means to be Thai,” added Khun Susaporn. “So, go and discover unique local experiences, revel in the rich culture, arts and cuisine of the Kingdom and meet fellow Thais while spending valuable time with family and friends. This unity means we can face the future with happiness and optimism.”