Thais light candles to mark king’s birthday
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
MORE than 200 Thai nationals gathered in Gadong yesterday to light candles in honour of the 87th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
Thais hold great affection for King Bhumibol, who took the throne in 1946 and is the world’s longest-reigning monarch.
Ambassador Apichart Phetcharatana welcomed the Thai community to his residence in Kg Mata-Mata, Gadong, and in keeping with tradition, people wore yellow shirts as a gesture of respect and loyalty to the King.
Apichart said yellow is the colour traditionally associated with King Bhumibol because in Thai culture it represents the day on which he was born which was on Monday.
In Khmer and Thai traditions, there is an astrological rule that assigns color for each day of the week. On King Bhumibol’s birthday, Thailand will be decorated with the yellow colour.
After his welcoming remarks in front of a large portrait of the monarch, the ambassador began the ceremony by lighting a single yellow candle ensconced within a flower.
He was soon followed by other well-wishers, who lit candles as they sang wishing the King happiness, health and longevity.
The King’s birthday – which falls on December 5 – is considered an auspicious day in Thailand, and is celebrated by offering alms throughout the day before attending the night candle-lighting ceremonies.
“This is done in Bangkok, in every province to show respect to the King,” said Apichart. “His Majesty is a pillar of national stability and unity for Thailand, and he is also the soul of the nation.”
On medical advice, King Bhumibol cancelled a public appearance to mark his 87th birthday last Friday, amid growing concerns for his health.
Despite this, thousands of Thais in Bangkok gathered in front of the Royal Palace in hopes of seeing him.
The monarch was last seen in public in November and has spent the past few months in hospital after undergoing an operation to remove his gall bladder.
The Brunei Times