In order to boost “soft power” and lure international tourists, Thailand’s government plans to turn Songkran festival into a month-long global water event next year.
The president of the National Soft Power Strategy Committee (NSPSC), Paetongtarn Shinawatra, who is also the leader of the Pheu Thai Party, declared Friday that the committee had decided to work toward making Songkran one of the top celebrations in the world.
We should all be required to fly to Thailand just to attend the Songkran festival. It is our goal, according to Ms. Paetongtarn, to have one of the world’s top ten festivals held in Thailand.
The Songkran celebration will change significantly beginning in the following year. She announced that the water splash would take place across the country for an entire month, rather than just three days.
She shared on Facebook that the organisers of the festival are hoping to bring in 35 billion baht for the Thai economy as a result of the extended event.
In order to mobilize the main industries that the NSPSC is concentrating on, such as festival events (1 billion baht), culinary affairs (1 billion baht), tourism (711 million baht), entertainment (545 million baht), sports (500 million baht), Thai arts (380 million baht), creative design (310 million baht), music (144 million baht), and books (69 million baht), the committee drafted a 5.1 billion baht budget on Thursday.
The vice president of the NSPSC, Dr. Surapong Suebwonglee, has called for the Thai government to establish the Thailand Creative Content Agency (Thacca) and enact the Soft Power Act in order to promote Thailand’s soft power. The twelve subcommittees that will make up Thacca will each concentrate on a certain soft power industry. Members of each industry sector will serve on the subcommittees.
According to Dr. Surapong, the NSPSC will evaluate the proposed budget on or around December 14th, and then in January, they will provide their final assessment to the cabinet.
In 2024, the subcommittee on festival events aims to organize over 10,000 events around the country, with the extended Songkran in April serving as the centerpiece, according to Chadatip Chutrakul, chief executive of Siam Piwat Co, which operates the Siam Paragon, Siam Center, and Siam Discovery malls.
Ms. Chadatip, who is in charge of the festival’s subcommittee, announced that Rachadamnoen Avenue and other spots in Old Town Bangkok will host the water festival, which will feature performances by international and local artists.
In April, every province will showcase their own cultures through water festival festivities, with the exception of Bangkok.
According to Ms. Chadatip, the events would provide people with jobs in the villages and give organizers the chance to teach locals how to plan events. In addition, the subcommittee will develop a mobile app that showcases Thailand’s soft power to international audiences, according to Ms. Chadatip.
Songkran in Thailand
In April, Thais celebrate Songkran Festival, a traditional New Year’s event. The water fights, in which participants joyfully pelt one other with water, are a trademark of the event. It is the beginning of Thailand’s rainy season, which follows the dry season.
Getting wet is a metaphor for letting go of the old and making room for the new. Additionally, people go to temples to take part in traditional rituals, feed the monks, and make merit. During this season, loved ones gather to celebrate, pay homage to those who have passed on, and share hopes for the new year.
Songkran has recently grown in popularity outside of Thailand, and now people in nations where there is a sizable Thai population also celebrate the festival with water-themed activities.
A variety of cultural events, including water battles, traditional music, and dance, make this a joyous and celebratory occasion.
It is a time for family gatherings, making merit at temples, and paying respect to elders. The festival is also marked by the beautiful parades and vibrant decorations seen throughout the country.