by Emz Garcia
The Ratchaphruek Gardens in Chiang Mai
A 10-day festival will be held in Chiang Mai to celebrate the 82nd birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The celebration will begin on December 1st and will end on December 10th.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as King Rama IX, is the longest-reigning monarch in the world. He was crowned in May 1950, after ascending to the throne in June 1946.
This huge event is being organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand(T.A.T.), Chiang Mai Provincial Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
Up to 200,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which will include locals, Thai tourists and foreign visitors.
The aim of this big celebration is not only to honor the King, but also to promote tourism for Thailand’s Northern Region.
Having the festivities happen within the Northern Region will help give it the exposure it requires, that in turn will improve domestic tourism and increase the number of hotel guests staying in Chiang Mai, which has seen very lean times of late!.
The boost in tourism, in turn, will help the local economies of the Northern Region, as well as the income of the people living in rural areas.
Although the opening ceremony is on December 1st, the festivities actually start from November 30th.
During the opening ceremony, welcoming parades from all four regions of Thailand will be witnessed by attendees. Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai Prime Minister, will be delivering the opening address, after which 999 sky lanterns (also known as khom loi’s) will be released.
Thai classical dances will then be performed by 99 representatives from each region. If you are wondering why the numbers always involve “9,” it is because the Thai people consider this to be THE luckiest number.
The climax of the 10-day festival will be held on the King’s actual birthday, which is on December 5th. Thousands of candles will be lit, blessings and prayers for his good health will be offered, & there will be congratulatory songs, a light and sound show and a fireworks display.
The main venue for all the festivities is the Ratchaphruek Garden in Chiang Mai, which was built originally for the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Festival in 2006, which was an international horticultural expo held as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of King Bhumibol’s ascension to the throne.
During that time, around two million visitors had been able to see roughly 2.5 million flowers and plants on display at the expo, including some very rare orchid species.
Throughout this year’s celebrations, visitors will be able to enjoy an amazing display of plants, fruits and trees. Competitions and sale of agricultural products will also be available, as well as village-made souvenirs and handicrafts.
If you are anywhere in the northern provinces during this time, please come along and help support the local economy, it will also be a great day out!!.