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Government calls for toned down Christmas and New Year

BANGKOK: The government has said Christmas and New Year festivities can be organised but any entertainment activities should be toned down.

culture, death,


Bangkok Post

Tuesday 15 November 2016, 09:34AM


The supermoon of 2016 appears above the Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, known as Khao Wang, in Phetchaburi. Photo: Chanat Katanyu
The supermoon of 2016 appears above the Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, known as Khao Wang, in Phetchaburi. Photo: Chanat Katanyu

The suggestion came after the nation quietly celebrated the Loy Krathong festival yesterday night (Nov 14) without the usual fireworks and entertainment since the nation is still in mourning a full month after His Majesty the King's passing.

Many Loy Krathong sites went ahead with the annual festival but dedicated the tradition of floating a krathong on waterways, to remembering His Majesty the late King.

Traditional and cultural activities recommended by the National Culture Committee to be observed during the Loy Krathong day festival included Buddhist-style merit-making, dhamma practice and listening to prayers, said Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn.

He was speaking after chairing a committee meeting yesterday.

The committee recommended not staging the Nang Nopphamat beauty contest and other fanfare events such as fireworks and concerts, he said.

For the coming Christmas and New Year festivals, Gen Tanasak said they can be held but organisers have been asked to keep entertainment activities respectful. “I believe every Thai has discretion and knows how to act appropriately during this time of mourning,” he said.

In response to the committee’s recommendations, Wanthani Watthana, a Bangkok deputy clerk, said no formal Loy Krathong celebration was organised in areas around the Grand Palace this year. People floated their krathongs quietly at nearby piers such as Tha Phrachan, Tha Chang, Tha Maharat or Tha Tian, said Ms Wanthani.

Loy Krathong celebration sites closest to the palace were situated underneath Rama VIII Bridge, Santi Chai Prakan Park and Phra Athit Road, which also decided to skip entertainment activities and instead adopted a theme that reflected mourning, she said.

A total of 28 public parks in the capital were open until midnight yesterday to allow people to go and float their krathongs.

Night entertainment venues in the city are allowed to go about their usual business, but visitors are advised to wear polite clothing bearing a symbol of mourning, said Gen Tanasak.

In Sukhothai, one of the country’s best-known sites for celebrating Loy Krathong, people floated their krathong solemnly to remember the late King.

No entertainment activities were held like in past years.

Chiang Mai, which is renowned for its Lanna-style Loy Krathong festival, known as Yi Peng, opted to turn the festival into an event to remember His Majesty as well.

Hat Yai district in Songkhla province which normally stages one of the most vibrant Loy Krathong celebrations joined the rest of the nation in skipping entertainment activities during the festival.

The number of tourists coming from neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore was low this year. Overall hotel bookings in Hat Yai were 50 per cent down during the festival, and was being blamed mainly on a weaker ringgit.

Kiti Imsuwan, president of a firework suppliers and traders association, said the production and import of fireworks has been banned at the moment and only a limited number of firecrackers normally used at funerals are allowed to be stored and sold.

Each year, the firework trade in Thailand is worth B10 billion on average, he said.

Meanwhile, a combined force of local administrative officials and soldiers raided a fireworks wholesaler at Chao Phrom market in Ayutthaya’s Muang district late yesterday afternoon. They seized about 100 firecrackers and other fireworks worth around B300,000.

The unnamed owner was detained and was believed to have been charged with violating laws regulating firearms and fireworks that prohibit the unauthorised import or trading of fireworks.

He could face one month in jail and a maximum fine of B1,000 if found guilty of the crime.

Read original story here.

 

 

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Kurt | 15 November 2016 - 13:49:40

Yes, Christmas is a spiritual Christian happening/tradition.
People go church, have X-mas meals. There is nothing in it what should be toned down.

The number of tourist from Malaysia and Singapore went down  50%. What they expect?
Being blamed mainly on the weak Malaysian ringit? I don't think so. 
Singapore has her Singapore dollar. Strong as ever, like the thai baht.
Tourists from other surrounding countries respect the mourning of the thai people, and so not come here for holidays.

Today is the football match Australia-Thailand, in Bangkok. Hope they will show it on tv.
Curious to know how many Australian supporters come to BKK.

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eric dekegel | 15 November 2016 - 10:50:49

Christmas is a christian tradition and I not see the relation ship,Lets take the big amounts of money from the tourists who also saved long time to have Christmas and new year in the tropics but they can not party?Explain me and probably many others,it looks like a one way story,at one side take money but people can not enjoy the paid money???

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