Phuket City Mayor Saroj Angkhanapilas led a ceremony to officially launch the ‘Phuket Lantern Festival 2023’ at the small green area at the Chartered Bank Intersection in the heart of the Phuket Old Town last night.
Joining him were other leading council members of Phuket City Municipality along with local community leaders and members of the public.
Mayor Saroj earlier yesterday joined another event to mark the beginning of the festival at the commercial Limelight Shopping Mall in Phuket Town, joined by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri.
Also present at the shopping center for the launch were Don Limnanthaphisit, President of Phuket Old Town Community, and Prasert Fakthongphon, President of Am Phuket Andaman Club.
At the official launch event last night, Mayor Saroj explained that the festival marked a period starting on the 15th day of the Chinese lunar calendar which ethnic Chinese commemorate by undertaking activities to invoke blessings to bring joy and happiness to the family during the festive season.
“The festival preserves the traditions of life and the good cultural identity of the local area as well as create a colourful tourism [attraction] in the Phuket City area,” he said.
Phuket City Municipality and the local resident ethnic Chinese community have already been preparing for the festive period, he said.
Before the festival begins each year, local ethnic Chinese prepare for the period by cleaning their homes and discarding any unwanted items.
Phuket City Municipality has already assisted with this by organising its special pickup services under the name ‘Sweeping the house to welcome Chinese New Year’, whereby municipality workers collect any large items left in front of houses, he said.
Mayor Saroj also marked the economic benefit brought to Phuket Town during the festival.
“The economic stimulus generates income for the local community. During this period, Chinese-Thai people in Phuket will buy decorative items to usher in the New Year, such as by adorning red lanterns to bring good luck, longevity, wealth and happiness,” he said.
“For today’s activities, the municipality has decorated urban attractions during the Lantern Festival around this Chartered Bank Intersection and throughout the town to create an atmosphere and the image of Phuket tourism and to preserve the good culture of Phuket,” he continued.
“In this regard, everyone is invited, including tourists, to experience and see the atmosphere during the Lantern Festival in Phuket at night from Jan 15 to Feb 5, 2023,” he said.