THE CABINET today (Nov. 1) approved nagas, a race of semidivine serpent creatures in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, as the country’s mythical emblem with this being part of soft power to use Thai culture to drive the economy and increase national income, Matichon newspaper said.
Ms. Ratchada Thanadirek, deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, said nagas have been part of Thai society for a long time and are embedded in Thai lifestyle while also reflecting historical beliefs.
Nagas are strongly part of Thai customs, traditions, arts and culture, with various traditional ceremonies centering them.
Illustrating their importance in Thai culture is the phenomenon of naga fireballs, also known as bung fai phaya nak or “Mekong lights” and, formerly, “ghost lights”, that are said to be seen annually on the Mekong River.
Glowing balls are alleged to naturally rise from the water high into the air. The balls are said to be reddish and to range in size from smaller sparkles up to the size of basketballs. They quickly rise up to a couple of hundred metres before disappearing. The number of fireballs reported varies between tens and thousands per night The phenomenon is locally attributed to phaya nak, a giant naga, said to live in the Mekong.
Thai nagas will be helping drive the economy. Top photo: Matichon, Front Page photo: Thai Rath