Revellers celebrate the Songkran Festival at the Wat Chaiya Mangalaram Buddhist temple in Penang. ― Bernama picRevellers celebrate the Songkran Festival at the Wat Chaiya Mangalaram Buddhist temple in Penang. ― Bernama picPASIR MAS, Oct 13 ― The Loy Krathong and Songkran festivals celebrated by the Siamese community needed to be preserved and reinforced to enhance the diversity of arts and culture in the country.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said these festivals were being promoted by his ministry as annual events to ensure these continued to flourish among the younger generation.

“The Siamese community in Malaysia numbered about 60,000 and they are bumiputera, as the minister in charge of culture, I feel it is necessary to preserve this culture to ensure the customs of this small community is not lost,” he told reporters after opening the Kelantan state level Loy Krathong Festival at Wat Uttamaram, Kampung Teresek here last night.

Apart from highlighting the uniqueness of the Siamese community’s culture,  Mohamed Nazri said the country’s plural society should respect the customs of any races in the country as it is a recipe for national unity and harmony.

He hoped the Siamese festival would contribute to the anticipated tourist arrivals of 31.8 million to the country with an estimated revenue of RM118 billion this year.

The highlight of the Loy Krathong festival is the floating of lotus on the river with lighted candles placed on them while other events  organised to enliven the festival included lotus floral arrangement, Loy Krathong queen contest, wayang kulit show and Siamese cultural performances. 

The annual festival is celebrated on the 15th day of December in accordance with the Siamese lunar calendar. ― Bernama



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