All An Adventurer Must Know About Thailand — страница 6

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float procession is held in Nakhon Pathom, near Bangkok. Arts and Crafts During 1976, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit established the Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques, popularly known as SUPPORT, with the object of giving rural Thais alternative sources of income and also of reviving some of the kingdorn’s traditional crafts. The result has been a variety of beautiful items available in Thailand through a chain of outlets called Chitrlada Shops. Five Chitrlada Shops are located in Bangkok: on the ground floor of the Decorations PaviIion in the Grand Palace: in the Oriental Plaza shopping centre; in the shopping arcade of the Hilton International Bangkok Hotel; in the compound of Wimanmek Mansion; and at Don Muang International Airport.

Others can be found at the Rose Garden in Nakhon Pathom province, in South Pattaya, and at the Chiang Mai Airport. Among the SUPPORT products to be found in these shops are handwoven silks from the Northeast, particularly in subtle ikat designs known in Thai as rnat-mi; elegant yan liphao handbags, made from a vine that grows in southern Thailand and often adorned with gold fittings; jewellery in distinctive designs; supple Thai cotton in classic patterns; T-shirts with motifs designed by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn; and numerous moderately-priced souvenirs. All funds raised from the sale of these crafts go to the SUPPORT project. Festivals and Annual Events Thais are fun-loving, sentimental people and annual festivals, both commemorative and celebrative,

play important roles in Thai life. Many Thai festivals are joyful, colourful events that invite visitors’ participation. Others feature solemn, eminently photogenic ceremonial. Whatever their character, whether dazzling processions, Buddhist devotion, uninhibited merriment or exotic ritual, each affords the visitor pleasant memories and insights into the cultural heritage that makes Thailand Asia’s most exotic country. Most festivals are connected either with Buddhism, the annual rice-farming cycle, or commemorations honouring Thai kings. Some occur on fixed dates. Others, particularly those associated with Buddhism, are determined by the lunar calendar. Many merit national holidays. Chronologically, Thailand’s major festivals, and events, are as follows: Makha Puja

Full-moon day, February National holiday This commemorates the occasion when 1,250 disciples spontaneously gathered to hear the Buddha preach. Merit-making, such as offering food to monks, and freeing captive birds and fishes, is interspersed with sermons throughout the day. After sunset, Buddhist monks lead the laity in a lovely triple candlelit circumambulation of Buddhist chapels throughout the kingdom. Each person silently carries flowers, glowing incense and lighted candles in homage to the Buddha, his teaching and his disciples. Flower Festival Usually early February. At Chiang Mai, 700 kilometres north of Bangkok. This annual event features displays, floral floats, and beauty contests when the province’s temperate and tropical flowers are in full bloom. Pattaya Festival

Early April. Thailand’s premier beach resort celebrates with beauty parades, floral floats, and special events, Highlights include a spectacular beach-side firework display. Songkran Festival April 13 – 15. National holiday, April 12 14 Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year and is celebrated with special elan in Chiang Mai where because it occurs during a time of relative leisure, it becomes a 3-5 day carousel of religious merit-making, pilgrimages, beauty parades, dancing and uninhibited, good-natured water throwing. Songkran Festival, Amphoe Phra Pradaeng The second week of April. The Mon community of Phra Pradaeng district, Samut Prakan province, just south of Bangkok, celebrates Songkran with similar festivities. Royal Ploughing Ceremony Usually early May, at

Bangkok’s Sanam Luang. This ceremony marks official commencement of the annual rice-planting cycle. Presided over by His Majesty the King, elaborate Brahman ritual and ceremonial combine to provide predictions concerning the forthcoming rice crop. Rocket Festival The second weekend of May, and best seen in Yasothon, north-east Thailand. Prior to the annual monsoons, Northeast villagers construct gigantic rockets to fire into the sky to ‘ensure’ plentiful rain during the forthcoming rice season. The Rocket Festival is traditionally a period for letting off steam before ardous field work begins in earnest, and features beauty parades, folk dances, ribald and high-spirited revelry before the rockets are ceremoniously launched. Visakha Puja Full Moon day, May. National holiday.