Candles for H.M. The King

Millions of people from all around Thailand came together on the evening of the 5th December 2009 to celebrate H.M. The King’s 82nd birthday. In Samut Prakan we also had a ceremony in the City Hall Plaza alongside the river. This was attended by the Governor, Mr. Surachai Kanasa, and the City Mayor as well hundreds of local people. They represented schools, government departments and private organizations.

From 6 p.m. onwards, each group took turns in paying homage to a portrait of H.M. The King by presenting two “phan phums”. This is a lotus bud shaped floral design. They are presented on a small tray. They are not easy to make and it can be time-consuming. Traditionally a mould is made using clay mixed with sawdust. But these days special dry floral foam is cut into the shape of a lotus bud. The stem of the dried flower is cut off and a sharp pointed slither of bamboo is used to pin it into the dry foam.

It took over an hour for all of the organizations to present their “phan phum”. Everything had to be finished before 7.19 p.m. as this was the auspicious time chosen to start the main ceremony that would take place simultaneously around the country. The main event in Bangkok at Sanam Luang was televised and broadcast live around the country. Millions of candles were lit at exactly 7.19 p.m. and the Thai people then sang songs to praise H.M. The King.

The sea of candle light was a beautiful scene but the grand finale of the event was of course the magnificent firework display. We actually had two shows as a district across the river started theirs a little early while we were still singing. At the completion of the songs the sky behind the giant portrait of H.M. The King was lit up with colourful fireworks. A beautiful finish to a wonderful evening.

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