Following the intergovernmental treaty in Botswana, UNESCO has given a formal certificate inscribing Songkran Festival, the traditional Thai New Year festival, as part of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage.
Kowit Pakamart, director-general of the Cultural Promotion Department, stated that the government intends to celebrate Songkran in grand style, promoting this traditional festival as a component of Thailand’s soft power and tourism appeal from April 1st to April 21st.
He stated that celebrations will be place in all provinces during this time.
The Songkran festival, also known as Thai New Year, is a colourful and lively event with strong roots in Thai culture and traditions. This yearly celebration celebrates the start of the Thai New Year and is filled with exuberant activities that last several days.
The Songkran event is more than just a New Year’s celebration; it has deep cultural and spiritual importance for Thais.
The celebration is traditionally held on April 13th, which marks the start of the Thai New Year. However, the celebrations frequently last several days, with many regions holding festivities until April 15th.
One of the most recognisable parts of Songkran is the enthusiastic water fights that take place around the country.
During this time, people of all ages flock to the streets, armed with water pistols, buckets, and even elephants equipped with water cannons, to engage in friendly water wars, symbolising the washing away of the previous year’s misfortunes and the beginning of anew.
Aside from the wild water fights, Songkran is also a time for ancient rites and customs that celebrate Thailand’s cultural history.
One of the most important customs is to pour perfumed water on the hands of elders as a sign of respect and to get blessings for the next year. This act represents cleansing and purifying oneself for a new beginning.
Songkran is a time for family to get together, reconnect, and rejoice in harmony. It is customary for younger family members to pay tribute to their elders by visiting temples, making merit, and sharing festive meals together.
The environment is filled with laughter, excitement, and the sharing of traditional Thai delicacies, which represent abundance and success.
The Songkran festival is a magnificent time in Thailand, combining old customs with modern-day celebrations. As people gather to splash water, receive blessings, and celebrate their heritage, a sense of solidarity and regeneration pervades the atmosphere.
So, whether you’re a tourist or a resident, Songkran is an incredible trip into the heart and spirit of Thai culture. Participate in the celebrations and immerse yourself in the brilliant tapestry of colours, fragrances, and smiles that mark this joyful occasion. Happy Songkran!