Songkran, or the Thai New Year celebration, has been included on a tentative UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list. According to a National News Bureau of Thailand report, a government spokesperson says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is delighted by the news.
Anucha Burapachaisri says Songkran has been included on the list for consideration as Thailand’s fourth intangible cultural heritage. An intangible cultural heritage is a representation, expression, practice, knowledge, or skill, in addition to artifacts and cultural property, that UNESCO considers part of the cultural heritage of a place.
But netizens in at least Myanmar and Cambodia are pushing back saying that Songkran, and water festivals to celebrate the Buddhist new year, are not exclusively ‘Thai’ and will be submitting arguments against the Thai application.
Other Thai intangible cultural heritages are traditional Thai massage, Khon, a form of dance drama, and Nora, a type of acrobatic dance and improvised singing from southern Thailand. UNESCO is expected to consider adding Songkran to the list when it meets at the end of this year.
According to Anucha, the PM says UNESCO’s decision to consider the Songkran festival has made him proud and is proof the world recognises Thailand’s cultural identities and values.
SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand