New Year blessing planned for Buddha artefacts
Buddha relics and statues from 13 countries will be brought to Bangkok for a New Year “blessing ceremony” and go on public display, Culture Minister Vira Rojpojanarat said on Thursday.
“The relics and statues will be given a cultural procession on December 29 and be on display at Sanam Luang until January 1, then at the National Museum in Bangkok until January 15,” Vira said.
The artefacts are coming from Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Japan, Indonesia, India, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Thai pieces will also be included in the blessing ceremony.
The ceremony is one of a dozen cultural activities scheduled for Sanam Luang, temples and museums across the country. More than 500 temples here and overseas will host New Year prayers from December 29 to January 1.
The ministry will provide free transportation to devotees wishing to make merit from December 30 to January 1. Shuttle buses will operate each day from 8am to 6.30pm among Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Rachaoros, Wat Rachapradit, Wat Benjamaborphit, Wat Borwornniwet, Wat Rachaborpit, Wat Suthat, Wat Phraramkao and Wat Wachirathamsathit.
The National Museum will separately display nine prominent Buddha statues for blessing from December 29 to January 27, matched by activities at branches of the national museum around the Kingdom, with no admission fees charged.
Cultural performances are to be staged at the National Theatre in Bangkok and upcountry from late this month through mid-January.
Meanwhile the Thailand Biennale of contemporary art is continuing in Krabi through February and the fourth Bangkok Art Festival through next July.
The government is also encouraging people to buy books as New Year gifts by waiving the purchase tax.