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Thai Arts and Culture at “Thailand Festival 2012”

Klong Bang Luang Thai puppet performers pose for pictures at the news conference for the Thailand Festival 2012 Sept 7, 2012. The festival takes place Sept 8-9.An annual festival of Thai culture takes place this weekend in Taipei, offering visitors vibrant performances, crafts displays, Thai cuisine and other entertainment for the whole family.

Jointly organized by the Thailand Trade and Economic Office and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government, the “Thailand Festival 2012” has sections covering Thai culture, arts, merchandise and food.

The event is an opportunity for Taiwanese to learn more about Thailand, Thai people and culture, according to Kusuma Tharasook, Deputy Executive Director of the Thailand Trade and Economic Office. “We hope to promote understanding of Thai culture and what Thailand can offer,” she said.(R-L): Tourism Authority of Thailand Taipei office director Nuan Sarnsorn, Dep. Executive Director of the Thailand Trade and Economic Office Kusuma Tharasook, Chief Secretary of Dept. of Cultural Affairs Li Li-chu and masked puppeteers.

Various cultural performance troupes have been invited to bring applause from the audience. The century-old Klong Bang Luang Thai Puppet Theater Company performs Thai mythological stories that go back thousands of years. Colorful, meter-tall puppets come to life in the skillful hands of the puppeteers to tell stories taken from the Hindu epic the Ramayana, combined with dance movements called Khon (Thai masked dance). Each puppet is operated by three masked performers – one for the legs, two for each arm – so that every part of the puppet is vivid and full of life. The puppets and puppeteers all dance to music and interact with the audience, waving and giving the Thai greeting gesture and big hugs.

In addition to the puppet shows, the festival will feature a demonstration of Muay Thai (Thai boxing), also known as “the art of eight limbs.” The powerful demonstration is accompanied by music and a show demonstrating the pre-fight dance, which helps the boxers to warm up and observe their opponent’s level of skill. Glittering and elegant Thai dance performances and other exciting activities staged throughout the afternoon add to an exotic Thai atmosphere right in the heart of Taipei.Thai fruit carving on display at the news conference for the Thailand Festival 2012 Sept 7, 2012. The festival takes place Sept 8-9.

For food lovers, Thailand Festival 2012 is one food festival where people can enjoy authentic Thai dishes. The event brings together dishes from northern to southern Thailand. Prepared on the spot by Thai chefs is one of the very popular dishes, Som Tam (spicy green papaya salad). Curries, wontons, dips and all the ingredients needed to prepare a Thai feast at home will be available from on-site stalls. Thai handicraft and delicate fruit carving demonstrations can also be found here.

The Thai Festival 2012 is being held between 14:00 and 20:00 on September 8-9th at the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Plaza in Xinyi District. No entry fee is required.