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Published on : Friday, November 29, 2013
Thailand’s temples have always been a big attraction for visitors as places where they learn about the country’s culture and Buddhist religion. But by now everyone has the chance to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience by joining the chanting of monks’ prayers in celebration of the New Year 2014.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and Thailand’s top tarot-card reader Khatha Chinnabanchorn, have joined forces to organise “New Year Celebration Prayers – A Traditional Thai Buddhist Ritual.” This special event is a way of making merit and marking the Buddha’s enlightenment and the propagation of his Dhamma teachings and will take place from 08.30 hrs. SHV 1763on Wednesday, 31 December, 2013 to 01.00 hrs. on Thursday, 1 January, 2014.
Ms. Wilaiwan Thawitsri, TAT Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business said: “The New Year prayers have been organised in response to the increasing number of requests from visitors and Thai Buddhists to be able to take part in this religious ceremony to mark the end of the year.”
The 2014 New Year Celebration Prayers will be held at the Temple of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Ayutthaya. As well as the chance to make merit and join the prayers, the event will give visitors the chance to see the temple’s beautiful murals which illustrate the story of the Buddha’s enlightenment and his teachings. Then, as the clock strikes midnight to usher in the New Year, prayers will be chanted to bring in 2014.
One of Thailand’s most respected scholars of the kingdom’s culture and history, Mr. Khatha Chinnabanchorn, said, “The New Year celebration prayer ritual acts as a reminder to people to adopt the Buddha’s teachings and incorporate them into their everyday lives. This leads to peace and happiness while helping people to refrain from damaging vices; such as, alcohol and drug abuse, which lead to social problems.”
“This event also marks the celebrations of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 86th birthday anniversary. The ceremony will give participants the opportunity to offer prayers for His Majesty the King.”
Another event to mark the dawn of 2014, is the “Merit Making at Nine Temples” organised by TAT. This popular way of making merit on 1 January will encourage Thai Buddhists and guests to uphold Buddhist principles with the aim of spiritual happiness. This is done by visiting nine of Bangkok’s most spectacular temples.
The nine temples are Wat Bowornniwet, Wat Dibayavari Vihara, Wat Devaraj Kunchorn, Wat Traimit Withayaram, Wat Kanlayanamit, Wat Ratchabophit, Wat Pho, Wat Arun (The temple of dawn) and Wat Ratchanadda. Each temple has its own fascinating history and unique points of interest. So the day is a great opportunity to learn more about Bangkok’s religious and cultural centres.
Everyone is invited to join in the New Year Celebration Prayers or the Merit Making at Nine Temples that is free of charge.