BANGKOK: The governor of the Thai capital has instructed city authorities to avoid promoting Valentine's Day and instead celebrate Maka Bucha, “the Buddhist day of love,” reports here said yesterday.
On the orders of governor Samak Sundaravej, only one district in Bangkok – Bang Rak, or “Love district” – will hold celebratory activities on Feb 14, The Nation newspaper reported.
“We don't want foreign culture to have too much influence on Thai people,” Natthanon Thavisin, permanent secretary of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, told the daily .
“We also have Maka Bucha as an important day in February.”
Maka Bucha falls on the full moon of the third lunar month – Feb 16 this year – and commemorates the Buddha preaching to a spontaneous gathering of 1,250 monks.
Due to the rising popularity of Valentine's Day in Thailand over the past few years, Bang Rak saw a surge in marriages on the day and began offering prizes to couples choosing to tie the knot then.
The Bangkok Post said some 1,500 couples are expected to marry at the district office this year.
Ten couples providing the most impressive answers to a questionnaire on the value of love would get certificates made of gold worth 5,000 baht (RM445) each, Bang Rak district office chief Worapote Intulak told the daily. – AFP
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