Tourism Authority Of Thailand Puts On A Virtual Songkran Celebration
In 2021, the Thai New Year of Songkran will happen from April 13 through April 15. Right before then, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will hold a virtual pre-event celebration to teach viewers worldwide more about this Buddhist holiday.
On Thursday, April 8, from 8 to 9 p.m. EDT, “Spring Into Songkran Splendors” will present Songkran’s traditions and history via a live Zoom broadcast from Chiang Mai. The event is free and open to the public but pre-registration online is required. See this link here.
The Zoom festivities will include an offering of Thai New Year blessings from the Baan Rai Kong Khing Community with Trikaya Tours. Also, on the program, Thai Chef Arnold Myint will demonstrate how to make Thai Papaya Salad.
According to Santi Sawangcharoen, director of TAT’s New York office, Thailand’s Buddhist culture and festivals are among the many reasons why Thailand is a popular travel destination.
“The Songkran Festival is our grandest, most important Buddhist holiday celebrated annually across all of Thailand,” said Sawangcharoen.
Derived from the ancient India festival of Makar Sankranti, Sawangcharoen explained thatSongkran’s origins recognize the sun’s celestial path. It also involves Thais viewing this period as marking the end of the old year and beginning a new one.
“Culturally, Songkran is a time for visiting temples and gathering with loved ones to express gratitude and wishes for good luck for our elders,” added Sawangcharoen. “Themes of compassion, prosperity and purification are embodied through many joyous activities involving water.”
Recognized throughout Thailand, Songkran typically falls in mid-April. A Songkran festival can run anywhere from three to 10 days in length.
Among its traditions, water plays a major part in recognizing Songkran.
“Because water is seen as a symbol for washing away misfortune, participants customarily pour and splash it in the streets as a fun and friendly tradition,” stated Sawangcharoen. “For visitors, the festival offers excitement in the form of parades, carnivals, spiritual performances and water fights taking place all throughout Thailand.”
This year, in Thailand, Songkran is being honored with events following COVID-19 preventative methods. In Bangkok, TAT will host the “Amazing Songkran Festival 2021” in the area surrounding the Airport Rail Link Makkasan Station stop.
The tourism board is also supporting related festivities in seven other destinations in Thailand. They will occur in Ayutthaya, Buri Ram, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Lampang, Nong Khai and Sukhothai.
As of now, Thailand is open to U.S. travelers who are required to fulfill specific medical requirements for entry. Yet with the virtual “Spring Into Songkran Splendors” event, Sawangcharoen noted that global viewers can experience Thai culture right at home.
“By offering this event to the public, we’re sharing our Thai cultural values with the world,” Sawangcharoen added.