City Hall revives Songkran events

City Hall revives Songkran events

Chadchart welcomes return of festivities after three-year pandemic-induced absence

People pour scented water on Phra Phuttha Sihing, a revered Buddha image, during the Songkran festival in Bangkok on April 12, 2018. (Bangkok Post File Photo)
People pour scented water on Phra Phuttha Sihing, a revered Buddha image, during the Songkran festival in Bangkok on April 12, 2018. (Bangkok Post File Photo)

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will organise a major event to celebrate Songkran next month after a three-year pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said on Tuesday.

While Lan Khon Muang in front of the City Hall in Phra Nakhon district has been designated as the main venue for the capital’s water-splashing celebrations, all 50 district offices will also organise their own events to celebrate the Thai New Year, he said.

To mark the start of the celebrations, Phra Phuttha Sihing, a revered Buddha image, will be paraded on April 12 from the Phutthai Sawan Throne Hall in the National Museum Bangkok to City Hall, where it will be displayed for worship until April 14.

Other traditional rituals, including alms giving and rot nam dam hua ceremonies — in which water is poured over the hands of elderly relatives to seek their blessing for the year ahead — will also be held at Lan Khon Muang, said Mr Chadchart.

Songkran celebrations will also be staged near Klong Phadung Krung Kasem, said the governor.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) will be responsible for maintaining peace and order during the festival, during which sales of alcoholic drinks, powder for smearing, high-pressure water guns and inappropriate attire will be restricted, he said.

In related news, the cabinet on Tuesday agreed to promote authentic Thai traditions and customs associated with Songkran, said deputy government spokeswoman Tipanan Sirichana.

The festival has been added to a tentative list of intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), she said.

Unesco is expected to consider Thailand’s request to have Songkran listed at the end of the year, she said.

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