Singapore to hold own Songkran

Singapore to hold own Songkran

Singapore is organising its own “Songkran” festival to compete with the one in Thailand but an executive of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says it still won't match the one in Thailand.

Singapore will hold its “Celebrate Songkran 2014” festival at the Padang open field opposite Singapore’s City Hall on April 12 and 13.

It coincides with the Songkran (Thai traditional New Year) festival of Thailand in the middle of next month.

Singapore’s event is described as the largest water festival celebration party outside of Thailand.

It includes music performances, a Thai boxing exhibition tournament, a Thai night market and a carnival.

While some netizens are pleased the Songkran tradition of Thailand is attracting worldwide attention, others think Singapore is using a well-known Thai tradition to woo tourists.

Sugree Sithivanich, deputy governor of the TAT, said that a private organiser in Singapore created the event and used the word “Songkran” because it was well-known and attractive.

Mr Sugree said the Singapore festival will be nothing more than an entertainment event.

He is confident that tourists who want to experience the real Songkran festival will still visit Thailand.

“It is a man-made event but our festival is real tradition,” said Mr Sugree.

Songkran is traditionally celebrated by Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar as well as ethnic groups in Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka and India. It means a transition to a new year.

Originally people in the region gently poured water on their family members and neighbours as part of the transition to traditional New Year in the middle of summer.

On this occasion, young people also traditionally seek blessings from senior citizens and remember their ancestors.

Workers return home to be with their families during the Songkran festival.

While some of these traditions still persist, the festival is also promoted as a water splashing event to bring in tourists.

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