River Festival 2014 – a celebration of culture along Chao Phraya River in Bangkok
Bangkok, 22 October, 2014 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture is lending its support to Thai Beverage Public Company Limited in organising the ‘River Festival 2014 – a Delightful Stream of Culture’ along the longest curve of the majestic Chao Phraya River in Bangkok from 1 to 6 November.
The event is set to promote public awareness of Thai traditions and cultural values practised for generations along the mighty River of Kings, where much of Thai history can be traced along its banks, as well as to celebrate the impressive ‘Loi Krathong’ festival.
TAT Governor, Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik said, “The River Festival 2014 will help boost cultural tourism in Thailand, and strengthen good understanding and cooperation between the public and private bodies as well as local and international tourists for the preservation of Thai tradition and culture. This is in line with TAT’s 2015 tourism marketing plan to promote the essence of ‘Thainess’ under the main Amazing Thailand campaign.”
The River Festival 2014 – a Delightful Stream of Culture is set to reinvent five unique sites along the Chao Phraya River into the backdrop of the old Thai way of life, portraying the pivotal role the river plays influencing Thai tradition and culture, past and present. In the early days of the establishment of Bangkok (since 21 April 1782), the river and canals served as the main transportation routes, resembling the former capital of Ayutthaya, hence the name “Venice of the East” was inherited.
At Wat Phra Chetuphon or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) and Nakrapirom Park, religious and fun-filled Thai culture activities will include a ritual to pay respect to the Reclining Buddha; the ‘Chong Prieang” tradition to pay respect to the sacred relic of Buddha in the Dawadung realm of heaven; an exhibition of vintage photographs and a dance created based on the stone sculpture of hermit in a posture of self-massage founded on the temple’s grounds. There will be classic Thai plays at the Prince Theatre, built based on the royal playhouse during the reign of King Rama V the Great, and a community fair selling local arts and crafts.
At Wat Arun Ratchawararam or the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), religious and fun-filled Thai culture activities will include a ritual to pay respect to Buddha image which represents the birthday or respective day of the week. On the temple’s grounds, there will be classic Thai plays at specially-built vintage-style stage, an outdoor cinema showing old Thai films with simultaneous narrators, an exhibition of Ban Chang Lor – a community renowned for its casting of Buddha images and an exhibition of vintage photographs. In addition, there will be a replica of old market selling authentic Thai dishes that are rare nowadays by the community residing behind the temple. The people of Trok Matoom (Soi Arun Amarin 23) will also be holding a fair, selling a range of delectable snack made from bael fruit.
At Wat Kalayanamitr (Wat Kalaya), the festival offers one of the rare chances to marvel at the temple’s magnificent statuary and architecture at night, including a tower that contains the largest bronze bell in Thailand. Other highlights include a Chinese opera show and a community fair selling local arts and crafts.
At Wat Prayurawongsawas (Wat Prayoon), religious and fun-filled Thai culture activities will include a ceremony to pay respect to the Phra Borommathat Maha Chedi. On the temple’s grounds, there will be an area allocated for vintage photo-taking opportunity, an exhibition of old communities surrounding the temple, and an exhibition of vintage photograhs. The Kudijeen Community will be holding a fair, selling a range of fusion Thai dishes influenced by foreign cultures in the old days. Additional highlight is the performance of the “Khun In” band, a Thai orchestra consisting of five groups of wood and percussion instruments.
Asiatique the Riverfront Bangkok
At Bangkok’s shopping landmark, Asiatique The Riverfront, activities will include the Loi Krathong ceremony and workshop of krathong-making, demonstrations of vintage fireworks display for religious beliefs, and the making of Pla ta pian or Thai-syle wind mobiles in the shape of a carp. A replica of the Rub Rua (receiving lotus) ceremony which is a ritual unique to Samut Prakan will be held for blessing reason. On the event’s grounds, there will be an area allocated for vintage photo-taking opportunity while the main East Asiatique stage will showcase the light-and-sound presentation portraying the story of trade and relations between Siam – the former name of Thailand – and international communities. In addition, there will be a range of Thai cultural performances as well as the competition of Muay Talay or “Sea Boxing”, another version of Thai Boxing.
Throughout the six-day/six-night festival, there will be complimentary shuttle boat services available in two routings: a return shuttle boat service between Yod Phiman Market in Pak Klong Talad and Asiatique; and a circle service on the Yod Phiman Market – Wat Pho – Wat Arun – Wat Kalaya – Wat Prayoon route.
Mr. Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, President and CEO of Thai Beverage Public Company Limited said, “We hope to be a part in upholding and preserving Thai tradition and culture, especially as we are moving towards the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community. Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries share similar arts and cultures, although each has own distinctive characters and values, and so this event will certainly help boost cultural tourism in Thailand. We intend to make this River Festival an annual fixture on the Thailand’s events and festivals calendar.”