To celebrate the New Year this year, a traditional candle lighting and prayer ceremony called “Sang Thien Haeng Siam” or “Candlelight of Siam”, will take place at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang and various locations nationwide and overseas on 31 December, with locals and foreign visitors invited to join.
H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand said, “We would like ‘the Candlelight of Siam’ to be a meaningful event that celebrates everything that unites us as a nation and as a people – our loyalty, our faith and our love and respect for the monarch. The New Year’s singing, candle lighting, praying and sharing will bring people together as friends, as families and let us welcome 2017 in a way that reflects our unique culture and heritage.”
The Candlelight of Siam event will take place on 31 December, 2016, at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang. The event will start at 7 p.m. with Thais and foreign visitors invited to join the pre-New Year Countdown activities including writing an oath to live a good life, getting a candle for the lighting ceremony, and taking part in Buddhist rituals.
Then, at 9 p.m., everyone will be invited to take part in an 89-second silence to pay respect to the late King Rama IX marking his 89 years. From 11:45 p.m. to 11:55 p.m., the New Year’s Eve prayers in the form of simplified Buddhist chanting will take place.
At midnight, the Chairman of the Candlelight of Siam ceremony will strike a gong 9 times while the monks will chant a Buddhist prayer and the people will sing the songs Phorn Phi Mai (New Year Blessings) to mark the New Year. The people will then sing the Royal Anthem to pay respect to King Rama X.
On 1 January, 2017, at 12:09 a.m., at least 100,000 candles will be lit and New Year’s prayers will take place to welcome the New Year. In the morning of New Year’s Day a traditional alms giving and merit making ceremony for 999 monks, a highly auspicious number according to Thai tradition, will take place.