Songkran, Thailand’s New Year holiday, is being given formal UNESCO recognition as a world intangible cultural heritage. Nation Thailand reports that the holiday will be formally recognised by UNESCO at an event in Botswana, Southern Africa, on December 6.
Apart from the traditional wetting of Buddha images, mad water parties have become an international symbol of the Thai new year, celebrated on April 13, usually at the hottest time of the year.
Thai officials have confirmed Thailand’s listing, after the Songkran holiday was shortlisted by UNESCO in January of this year. Songkran was one of 4 Thai cultural traditions shortlisted. The other 3 were the traditional Khon dance, traditional Thai massage, and Nora, a folk-dance drama.
On December 7, Thailand’s Cultural Promotion Department will host a celebration at Bangkok’s Lan Khon Mueang town square, with PM Srettha Thavisin presiding over the event.
Also in attendance will be various Cabinet members, the governor of Bangkok, and representatives of provincial cultural offices. They will witness traditional Songkran activities, including the sprinkling of water on the Phra Phuttha Sihing Buddha figure.
There will also be a Songkran parade, featuring traditional Thai dances and musical performances from 4 Thai regions, in a bid to promote Thai culture and traditions and attract tourists to take part in Songkran celebrations in the kingdom next year.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand