CHIANG RAI – Yesterday Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn presided over the opening ceremony of the King Mengrai the Great – 2018 Wai Sa Phaya Mengrai Festival, scheduled to run from 26th January to 4th February at the old airport in Mueang Chiang Rai District.
The annual event is being held for the 756th anniversary of the building of Chiang Rai city by King Mengrai.
At the festival, academic works are displayed and there are exhibition booths manned by government agencies, the Red Cross of Chiang Rai and other institutions. Performances such as a singing contest, booths selling goods from factories and many other interesting activities are also to be enjoyed.
Por Khun Mengrai (The father) founded Chiang Rai in 1262 as his new capital in the Kok River basin. In 1287 King Mengrai made a peace pact with King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai and King Ngammueang of Phayao to defend their lands against the Mongol Empire. In 1292 he defeated the Mon kingdom of Hariphunchai (present day Lamphun), adding the city to his kingdom. Yiba, the last king of Hariphunchai, was forced to flee to Lampang.
To commemorate King Mengrai the Greats establishment of Chiang Rai city as the center of the Kingdom of Lanna, a festival has been held every year since 1983.
The highlight of the festival is the parades made by participating locals. During the parade-formation, it is not uncommon for the foreigners to mingle with the locals and simply savor the magic of time-tested traditions.
By Vipaporn Pooritanasarn