Thailand to usher in 2017 with a traditional Candlelight of Siam event
BANGKOK: To memorably celebrate the nation’s Thainess and to incorporate tributes to the Thai monarchy as well as the happiness of the Thai people into the New Year celebrations this year, a traditional candle lighting and prayer ceremony, called Sang Thien Haeng Siam or Candlelight of Siam, will take place at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang and various locations nationwide and overseas on 31 December, with locals and foreign visitors invited to join.
H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand said, “We would like ‘the Candlelight of Siam’ to be a meaningful event that celebrates everything that unites us as a nation and as a people – our loyalty, our faith and our love and respect for the monarch. The New Year’s singing, candle lighting, praying and sharing will bring people together as friends, as families and let us welcome 2017 in a way that reflects our unique culture and heritage.”
The Candlelight of Siam event will take place on 31 December, 2016, at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang. The event will start at 19.00 Hrs. with locals and foreign visitors invited to join the pre-New Year Countdown activities including writing an oath to live a good life, getting a candle for the lighting ceremony, and taking part in Buddhist rituals.
Then, at 21.00 Hrs., everyone will be invited to take part in an 89-second silence to pay respect to the late King Rama IX marking his 89 years. From 23.45-23.55 Hrs., the New Year’s Eve prayers in the form of simplified Buddhist chanting will take place.
At midnight, the Chairman of the Candlelight of Siam ceremony will struck a gong 9 times while the monks will chant a Buddhist prayer and the people will sing the songs Phorn Phi Mai (New Year Blessings) to mark the New Year.
The people will then sing the Royal Anthem to pay respect to King Rama X.
On 1 January, 2017, at 00.09 Hrs., at least 100,000 candles will be lit and New Year’s prayers will take place to welcome the New Year.
In the morning of New Year’s Day a traditional alms giving and merit making ceremony for 999 monks, a highly auspicious number according to Thai tradition, will take place. And within the day, Thai people will also take the chance to visit nine auspicious temples for 2017 blessings.
H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports said, “As well as the Candlelight of Siam at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang, similar traditional candle lighting and prayer ceremonies will be taking place at Thai temples and ceremonial grounds across the nation and even overseas.
“Some of the major locations have included Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Songkhla (Hat Yai), Kanchanaburi, and Phuket, as well as in the heart of Bangkok, from the Pathumwan Intersection and Ratchaprasong shopping district to the Asoke Intersection and Phrom Phong BTS Station (EmQuartier and Emporium).”
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “2016 is a year that marks both the ending of an era and the beginning of a new chapter in Thailand’s history. So we want to close 2016 in a truly Thai way that will be memorable to everyone. So I’d like to extend an invitation to Thais and our foreign guests all over the country, as well as in Sanam Luang to join this New Year ceremony.”
TAT expects to welcome around 375,000 international arrivals, up by 5 percent during the New Year holiday period (31 December, 2016 – 3 January, 2017), generating tourism revenue of around 55.5 billion Thai Baht or up by 12 percent from last year.