1. ITV Report

Thais take part in own funerals to welcome in 2019

While many celebrate New Year's Eve with fireworks, hundreds of Thais travelled to a temple in a Bangkok suburb to take part in their own funerals.

Participants believe the Thai Buddhist ritual at Takien Temple — symbolising death and rebirth — helps rid them of bad luck and allows them to be born again for a fresh start in the new year.

Those taking part lie inside coffins for traditional funeral rituals, holding flowers and incense in their hands, as monks cover them with pink sheets and chant prayers for the dead.

Rather than heading to a party to welcome in the new year, 67-year-old retired policeman, Phitsanu Kiengpradouk, travelled to Takien Temple to lie in a coffin and attend his own funeral.

"Laying in coffin means we are letting go of our suffering, from our body and from our mind.

"We come here to lay in coffins, so we can have better luck and better life," Mr Phitsanu said.

Meanwhile, Busaba Yookong, who came to the temple with her family, said attending her own funeral wasn't an eerie experience.

While Thailand is on a march to become a modern society with its capital city, Bangkok, filled with shopping centres and high-rise buildings, superstitious beliefs still hold sway in many aspects of society.