China is to present a special gift -- two giant dragon lanterns -- to the King of Thailand to mark the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne and the dragons will take pride of place at the Chinese New Year festival in Yaowarat (China Town) on January 29 and 30, Thai newspaper the Nation said on Tuesday.
Pracha Maleenont, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister, was quoted as saying that this year's China Town festival will be bigger than ever in Bangkok, and will have the theme: "A warm friendship of two nations under the great kindness of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej."
The centerpiece of the celebrations will be a 30-meter-long dragon lantern to be installed at the China Town Gate -- with another five-meter-long dragon flanking it -- and both will be lit as night falls.
The Chinese government will also send dragon-dancers and kung-fu troupes -- more than 100 dancers all up -- from Guangzhou to perform at the festival, which will run from morning till midnight over the two days.
Adding to the spectacle will be more than 150 lanterns in Thai and Chinese styles, lighting up Yaowarat, Charoen Krung and Trimitr roads during the event.
The lanterns have been designed in the traditional style of Chinese court and made by Foshan Folk Art Research Institute.
"Four veteran chefs from China will be flown here to cook 60 special menus for the event. Twelve menus, being kept secret, will be served to Princess Sirindhorn, who will preside over the festival on January 29," said Somphong Vajirakaphan, a member of the committee in charge of food at the festival.
He said each menu had been created with the health and wealth of diners in mind. Some of the dishes would be very rare and drawn from the traditional menus.
(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2006)