The Songkran festival has been formally recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage event by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
The official announcement was made at the Intergovernmental Committee meeting for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Botswana on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Culture is planning various activities to celebrate the listing on the grounds of Bangkok City Hall on Thursday.
The application for the Unesco listing was first submitted in March 2020 by the government of Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Chai Wacharonke, the spokesman for the current government, said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin thanked all those involved in the campaign for Unesco recognition.
Songkran is a time-honoured tradition passed down from generation to generation, which reflects the value of gratitude which Thai people show towards their ancestors and embodies the spirit of unity, Mr Chai quoted the prime minister as saying.
Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year, with nationwide celebrations on April 13-15 each year. Activities include offering alms to monks, pouring water over the palms of revered elders, cultural performances and often raucous water-splashing activities.
“Songkran promotes community cooperation, unity and forgiveness. It is viewed as a time to symbolically wash away misfortunes, pray for prosperity for the coming year, reunite with family members, and honour ancestors and older adults,” Unesco said in a statement. “Furthermore, by emphasising the importance of older adults and of family, Songkran helps to combat loneliness and social isolation.”