Gentle approach advocated for Songkran water blessing

Gentle approach advocated for Songkran water blessing

A boy bathes a Buddha figurine during Songkran in Bangkok in 2018. Authorities encourage people to concentrate on similar traditional activities during this year's festival,  because vigorous water splashing will not be allowed. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A boy bathes a Buddha figurine during Songkran in Bangkok in 2018. Authorities encourage people to concentrate on similar traditional activities during this year's festival, because vigorous water splashing will not be allowed. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Ministries have made proposals for the Songkran festival, including a gentle alternative to the traditionally vigorous water splashing, amid continuing concern over the possible spread of Covdi-19 during the celebration.

Apisamai Srirangson, assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said on Wednesday that the Tourism Authority of Thailand recommended people wear face masks and gently pour or spray water on other people.

The Culture Ministry proposed that people concentrate on the more traditional activities of bathing Buddha images and extending Thai New Year greetings to senior citizens, along with unrestricted travel.

Songkran-related events should be organised outdoors, or in well-ventilated venues.

The ministry was opposed to water splashing, foam parties, the application of talcum powder and concerts - activities that would attract crowds, she said.

"These ideas woud allow activities during the Songkran festival and remain within the scope of disease control measures introduced by the Public Health Ministry... Water splashing will therefore be put on hold this year.

"If the situation improves, full-scale Songkran happiness may return next year," Dr Apisamai said.

She said the CCSA would consider what activities would be allowed, and what measures woud be applied, at its meeting on Friday.

Covid-19 caused the government to cancel Songkran festivities in April last year to prevent people from gathering in a wet environment and increasing the chance of catching the virus.

At the beginning of April last year, Thailand had reported only 1,771 Covid-19 cases, up by 120 in 24 hours, and the death toll was 12.

On Wednesday, the total number of Covid-19 cases was reported at 27,402, up by 248 in 24 hours, and the death toll rose by one to 88.

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