Mass candle-lighting ceremony marks King’s 84th birthday

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BANGKOK, Dec 5 – Millions of Thai people across the country joined the annual evening candle-lighting ceremony to pay tribute to their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turned 84 Monday, and to offer prayers and blessings for the King.

In the capital, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra presided over the auspicious ceremony at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground to mark the seventh-cycle birthday anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol, the world’s longest reigning monarch.

The premier said on behalf of cabinet members, civil servants and all Thais that the crowds were pleased to gather here to express their well wishes and homage to their beloved monarch.

Ms Yingluck then led the public in lighting candles and singing the royal anthem at the auspicious moment.

Meanwhile, Thais countrywide also joined the auspicious moment at home or at designated venues in all provinces.

In addition, cultural and art performances were held nationwide, particularly in Bangkok’s old city area where a grand series of special activities took place to celebrate and honour the King’s life and times as well as life-long contributions for the well-being of his subjects.

As part of the celebrations, the Bureau of the Royal Household gave an opportunity for the public to enter the Grand Palace and appreciate the beauty of the palace during the night time, from 6pm to midnight.

The celebrative events will run through Dec 9 at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground and its surrounding areas.

Earlier, people upcountry offered alms to Buddhist monks and participated in varied public charity activities in the morning to make merit and to celebrate the occasion.

Prominent figures, the prime minister and the cabinet members, military top brass, senior government officials, the diplomatic corps and the public thronged the Grand Palace to sign the well-wishing books on the occasion of His Majesty’s birthday.