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US celebrates its 230th

Buddhist Lent Days 2006

US celebrates its 230th

Preeyanoot Jittawong
Two great occasions concerning two vastly different countries were celebrated at the same time in July 2006 at the US Consulate in Chiang Mai. These were the 230 year anniversary of the founding of the US and the 60 year anniversary of the Thai king’s accession to the throne.

Nick Bauer, General Manager of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel (left) talking with Somock Inthavong, General Manager of D2 hotel Chiang Mai (right).

Bea Camp, the U.S. Consul General together with David Summers welcomed guests from various organizations from the government, private sector, educational institutes and media of both Chiang Mai and nearby provinces, including the consuls general of other countries. C-G Camp stressed that Thailand and the US had enjoyed a long and good relationship; and since she had been posted as US Consul General in Chiang Mai for the last two years, she had learnt much about Thai culture and lifestyle.

(From left) ML Preeyapun Sridhavat, Honorary Peruvian Consul; Dararat Shinawatra and George A. Sioris, former Ambassador of Greece.

She had observed the faithfulness and devotion that Thai citizens demonstrated toward HM King Bhumibol, their revered monarch. This was a great occasion in the history of both countries, because the US had been established for 230 years and this year was the 60 year anniversary of the king’s reign. “The US parliament’s resolution on June 22, 2006, stressed on the friendship and cooperation of both countries, therefore, the US National Day celebration was organized to jointly celebrate Thailand’s great occasion, to offer a chance for Thai people residing in the US to show their faithfulness toward the king,” said the US Consul General.

Hagen Dirksen, Honorary German Consul (center) and Wanpen Sakdatorn Dirksen with a guest.

Everybody stood respectfully to attention on that day, paying their respects to the king, while a military band played the Thai and American national anthems before everyone raised their glasses and drank a toast to celebrate both occasions.
Vilas Rujiwatanapong, Vice Governor of Chiang Mai addressed the assembly and offered congratulations to the US and blessed the country and its president. He expressed the hope that Thailand and the US would continue to have this kind of good relationship; and especially with Chiang Mai.

Bea Camp, US Consul General (center) and David Summers (left) with Vilas Rujiwatanapong, Vice Governor of Chiang Mai (second from right) Peng Rendong, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China (second from left) and Amnuay Wanpen, General Manager of Royal Princess Hotel Chiang Mai (right).

The entire group paid respect to The King.

Buddhist Lent Days 2006

Preeyanoot Jittawong
Chiang Mai Municipality, Chiang Mai monasteries and other organizations fielded activities promoting Buddhism on the day before (Asarnha Bucha) and Buddhist Lent Day (Khao Pansa). Many Chiang Mai residents joined these activities and many giant candles were presented to temples.

Traditional Lanna costume worn by a worshipper

Buddhist activities took place from July 2 to 11 at Chiang Mai Buddhist Place and Thapae Gate, as is the custom
The highlight of this year’s activities was a vehicle parade of giant candles decorated beautifully and presented by many different organizations and surrounding villages. The parade started from the Night Bazaar to Thapae Gate where many tourists thronged the route. Many other activities were held on each day of Lent including giant candle casting at Chiang Mai Buddhist Place, a ceremony to avow Buddhism, promise to do good and to abstain from drinking and licentious behavior during the Buddhist Lent period.
A questionnaire contest about the Lord Buddha’s teaching was prepared for youngsters with the intention of encouraging them to learn Buddha’s teaching.
On July 9, Chiang Mai Governor, Suwat Tantipat led Chiang Mai residents around a pagoda while holding candles, flowers and joss-sticks at Wat Phra Singh Worawiharn Temple. This year, not only adults joined this religious event but also many young people.
The day prior to and during Buddhist Lent Days are solemn days for Buddhists. The day before Buddhist Lent Day is the day to recognize first the preaching of the Lord Buddha and these words are used as a model for living.
The chore “gems” of Buddhism are: the Lord Buddha, Buddhist Doctrine and Monastic principles and the Lent days are to remember and study these.
Buddhist Lent was created by Lord Buddha as a period when the monks would retreat in their monasteries to study and reflect, as traveling in the country during the heavy monsoon rains was difficult and dangerous and they could damage newly sewn rice.

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor (center) walked around a pagoda with residents.