Know these words and phrases
a large usually wooden statue, often representing a woman, that used to be fixed to the front end of a ship
exaggerated in order to create a special effect and attract attention
something that exists only in ancient stories
usually a horse
the stories and traditions of a particular group of people
having a tall pointed structure on the top usually of a building
a building that is meant to be more beautiful than useful, built as a shelter in a special place
in a way that is impressive because of size or beauty
a large, expensive and impressive entertainment
impressive clothes, decorations, music, and traditional customs that are part of an official ceremony
impressive and colourful events and ceremonies involving a lot of people wearing special clothes
a series of actions that are always carried out in the same way, especially as part of a religious ceremony
slow, formal and graceful
a thing that shows that something else exists or is true
to shine light on
extremely attractive and impressive; deserving praise
a great amount
a screen; liquid crystal display
a pleasant situation that you imagine but that is unlikely to happen
to send out light, heat, sound, gas
The name Suphannahongsa, or golden hamsa, refers to the swan-like mythical steed of the Hindu god Brahma, which first appeared in Thai lore during the Ayutthaya period.
King Rama I ordered the Suphannahongsa build soon after his accession to the throne in 1782. The vessel was in constant use as the principal Royal barge until it became too old to be repaired.
King Rama VI then commanded the construction of its successor, which was launched on November 13, 1911, and also named Suphannahongsa.
In state processions, the vessel carries either a spired throne or a roofed pavilion surrounded by court officials.
The Suphannahongsa was made from the trunk of a single teak tree. It is said that the master craftsman threw away all his tools after its completion and vowed never to work again.
Whether this is true or not, Suphannahongsa is the most majestic of all the Royal barges. Its hamsa figurehead is raised in flight with eyes bulging prominently, nostrils flared, and fangs protruding from its grimacing mouth.
The hamsa holds a tassel and crystal balls in its mouth and wears a garland and pendant around its neck. Its feathers, represented by gilded and mirrored ornamentation, appear to flow in the wind along the length of its body to its flame-like tail.
A splendid welcome
The world leaders convening in Thailand for the APEC 2003 summit will have a glimpse of Thailand’s Royal glory — with a modern touch. The sacred Royal ceremony, which usually takes place during the day, will take on a 21st century dimension on October 20 when the fleet of royal barges will glide majestically at night along the Chao Phraya, the River of Kings, against the magical backdrop of the Royal Palace and a dramatic light-and-sound extravaganza.
Under the crescent moon, the Royal flotilla will leave the Tha Wasukri landing at exactly 8pm and pass under the Rama VIII and Pinklao bridges before gliding past the Royal Navy Institute Building, from where world leaders and APEC guests will be treated to Thai water-way pomp and pageantry.
Among the numerous rituals and traditions that form part of Thailand’s unique cultural identity, few are more spectacular than the Royal Barge Procession. Traditionally held to mark the end of the annual Buddhist Rains Retreat, this stately procession along the mighty Chao Phraya River accompanies the monarch on his way to present robes to monks at the temple.
Because of its spectacle and pageantry, it has been selected as the highlight of the Apec 2003 calendar, a suitable testament to the centuries-old civilisation that is Thailand.Since this is the first time that the Royal Barge Procession will take place at night, lights are therefore necessary to illuminate the grand arrival of the magnificent barges. The navy organisers decided that a plethora of light and sound presentations would also be needed to enhance the dramatic setting of the barges against the magical backdrop of the Royal Palace on the opposite side of the river.
To make it happen, they called in the professionals — JSL Company’s credits include the opening and closing ceremonies of the 13th Asian Games in Bangkok in 1998.
A movie will be projected on the screen to tell the story of the Thai people, the institution of the monarchy, the prosperity of the country and its beliefs, and the historical background of the Royal Barge Procession, said Dr Apiwat Watanangura, director of the company’s technical department.
There will be two kinds of screens, he explained. The first will be a white LCD that will display text. The other will be a water screen —a wall of water like a waterfall that can reflect light and will be used for images that create mood and atmosphere. The two screens will be joined.
The spectators, who will be seated in a glassed-in room at the Royal Navy Institute, will listen to commentary, translated into six languages, through headphones.
The light and sound show will last only 10 minutes, the ten minutes following the departure of the procession from the Wasukri Pier. "We’ve timed it precisely so that just as the light and sound show concludes, the royal barge procession will be entering the Royal Navy Institute Building area. The screens will be removed very quickly so that they don’t block the view of the Royal Palace," he explained.
To add to the fantasy atmosphere of the event, light sources will be placed in the river, just below the surface, emitting a soft golden light that will make the river look golden. As the procession arrives, dry ice or a curtain of mist will be released over the whole surface of the Chao Phraya River.
“It will look as if the boats are floating among the clouds," he said."The evening will conclude with a big fireworks display," he said. "The number of fireworks will be the same as the number of attendees at the conference, and when they explode the colours will be those of each attending country’s national flag."