Monarch’s 65th celebrated with merit-making and loyalty across country
THAIS ALL over the country marked His Majesty the King’s 65th birthday yesterday with mass alms-giving and a public display of loyalty – which was declared a public holiday this year for the first time.
Local residents and authorities in all regions of the Kingdom gathered in the morning to offer food and other items to Buddhist monks. In many provinces, the alms-giving ceremony was led by senior officials, including provincial governors.
Some other provinces held ceremonies involving the country’s three major religions – Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn ascended to the throne last year.
In Bangkok, Cabinet members and the King’s privy councillors, as well as their spouses, offered alms to 651 monks at the Royal Plaza yesterday morning. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was among the government leaders participating.
Also joining the alms-giving ceremony were senior officials from state agencies based in Bangkok, and military commanders.
The event was aimed at making merit to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, as well as offering good wishes to Her Majesty the Queen, and King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Provincial halls around the country and Thai embassies around the world also hosted similar mass alms-offerings and merit-making ceremonies yesterday to mark the King’s birthday.
In other parts of the capital and in the provinces, local businesses displayed portraits of the King at their premises.
People lined up outside post offices to get a special edition of postage stamps issued in honour of the monarch. “The first day of sale of the first stamp in the reign of King Rama X was met with huge public interest,” Thailand Post said in a statement.
Government offices and private organisations have been hosting various events and religious ceremonies to celebrate the occasion since Wednesday.
In the southern Surat Thani province, more than 6,000 people took part in a morning alms-giving ceremony yesterday, which was chaired by the provincial governor, Uaychai Inthanak.
More than 3,000 people in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima offered alms to 165 monks in a ceremony presided over by the provincial governor, Vichien Chantaranothai.
Chiang Mai residents in the North held a joint ceremony participated in by leaders of five religions worshipped by people in the city – Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism – in honour of the King. The ceremony was presided over by Chiang Mai governor Pawin Chamniprasart.
A similar inter-religious ceremony involving five faiths was also held in Phuket, a main tourist destination in the South.
In Ang Thong, 1 million small fish and prawns bred by local fishery authorities were released in the Chao Phraya River in a merit-making ceremony aimed at honouring the King. A joint ceremony of Buddhists, Muslims and Christians was also held at the City Hall for the special occasion.
About 10,000 residents of Pathum Thani offered community services at different locations in Bangkok’s neighbouring province yesterday.