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UNESCO declares Thailand’s Songkran festival as an Intangible Cultural Heritage

Come April 2024, Thailand will have a perfect reason to celebrate Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year in a much bigger way than ever before. Very recently, UNESCO formally recognized the Songkran in Thailand as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, and Globe Aware volunteers can take part by booking a volunteer vacation during that time!


UNESCO declares Thailand’s Songkran festival as an Intangible Cultural Heritage

TIMESOFINDIA.COM
Dec 11, 2023

Synopsis

UNESCO formally recognised the Songkran in Thailand, Traditional Thai New Year Festival as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. This designation solidifies the cultural significance and importance of the Songkran festival. For those curious, Songkran is a festival that is celebrated in Thailand every year in the month of April.

Come April 2024, Thailand will have a very good reason to celebrate Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year in a much bigger way than ever before. Very recently, UNESCO formally recognised the Songkran in Thailand, Traditional Thai New Year Festival as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

This designation solidifies the cultural significance and importance of the Songkran festival.

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For those curious, Songkran is a festival that is celebrated in Thailand every year in the month of April. In mid-April, the rice harvest is followed by this festival, which also marks the traditional commencement of the Thai New Year.

UNESCO declares Thailand’s Songkran festival as an Intangible Cultural HeritagePhoto courtesy: Canva

Traditionally, this festival celebrates familial reunions, people pay respects to Buddha, family elders and their ancestors. The festival has traditional ceremonies like pouring water on elders’ hands as a gesture of respect and humility, asking their blessings. And out in the public areas, Songkran festivities become louder and more fun. Everyone comes out on the streets and splash water on one another using buckets and hoses!

Songkran Festival is celebrated over a period of three days, out of which, the first day is dedicated to elders. The first day of Songkran is officially National Elderly Day. The second day is for the family, and officially marks National Family Day. There is also the ritual of Bathing the Buddha Image where devotees pour fragrant water over Buddha’s statues at temples and at home.

UNESCO declares Thailand’s Songkran festival as an Intangible Cultural HeritagePhoto courtesy: Canva

The ritual of throwing water on one another is not only for fun, it is also symbolic. It symbolises washing away one's sins. However, it’s a different matter that the ritual is one of the most fun things you will take part in Thailand.

It is important to note that this recent development in Thailand means Songkran Festival joins the list of other cultural attractions like Khon (2018), Thai Massage (2019) and Nora (2021).

Additional Info

  • Source: Times of India
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