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Phuket holds religious ceremony for deceased tourists in July boat tragedy

A two-day religious ceremony was held on 22 and 23 August in Phuket to mark the 49th day since tourists who lost their lives during the 5 July boat tragedy passed away.

Boris Sullivan

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A two-day religious ceremony was held on 22 and 23 August in Phuket to mark the 49th day since tourists who lost their lives during the 5 July boat tragedy passed away.

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Phuket Vice Governor, Mr. Prakob Wongmaneerung, presided over the first morning event that took place at Saphan Hin Public Park in Phuket.  In the evening, H.E. Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, presided over a Chinese religious ceremony.

According to the belief of Chinese Buddhists, the soul departs this world after 49 days and a religious ceremony helps the spirit have a better afterlife. Additional religious services were also held for Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, and Brahman communities.

The second day was dedicated to activities in remembrance of the deceased tourists. These included a mass vegetarian observation and meditation by all participants clad in white to transfer merit to the deceased tourists and relieve them of suffering in the afterlife.

There was also a ‘walk-run’ event marking the long-standing Thai-Chinese relations and a candle-lit ceremony to honour and remember those who lost their lives in the tragic event.

These merit-making ceremonies were attended by key figures and senior representatives from the Thai public and private sectors, families and relatives of the deceased tourists, and members of both Thai and international media.

As many as 600,000 Chinese tourists cancelled trips to Thailand last month, representing 37 billion baht in revenue lost, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

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