Living amid economic crisis and political unrest during recent years, most Thai Buddhists have sought their mental refuge. This trend has increased the needs for merit- making and participation in ceremonies to exorcize bad fortune (catastrophe averting) on religious and festive holidays, including the New Year. Aside from merit-making at revered local temples, nationally famous religious centers or government offices that invited monks to hold blessing ceremonies, some adherents may travel to provincial areas to attend merit-making rituals because they believe traveling to those places will bring good luck to them and their families. Meanwhile, others may visit temples to pray and listen to sermons on the last night of the year through to the morning of the first day of 2011.
KResearch conducted a survey entitled “Bangkok Residents' Behavior toward the 2011 New Year Celebration” on December 1-10, 2010, using a sampling group of 521 persons. It was found that the majority of respondents planned to participate in merit-making activities, such as alms offerings, visiting temples in Bangkok, upcountry in neighboring provinces (one-day trip), as well as in their hometowns and other places (overnight trip).
It is expected that spending on merit-making during this New Year's holiday may generate spending of around THB1.8 billion, rising 10 percent YoY. Many businesses will likely receive windfalls from this holiday activity, e.g., shops selling packaged alms, rice, other dry goods, beverages, canned food and flowers. Thus, many community retailers and modern trade entrepreneurs will likely receive higher income from merit-making by Bangkok residents, who have relatively high purchasing power and intend to make merit.