BANGKOK, Dec 8 — Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Friday unveiled plans to preserve and promote Songkran traditions across diverse communities to ensure its continued vibrancy for future generations.
Songkran, the country’s traditional New Year festival, was officially inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on Wednesday.
He said the recognition is a precious gift that brings pride and honour to the Thai people and the country.
The plans include taking appropriate safeguarding measures to protect, promote, and recreate Songkran traditions in Thailand to ensure its viability among today’s generations and its continued transmission to tomorrow’s, as well as respect and appreciate a variety of Songkran practices in different communities.
Efforts to raise public awareness about the value and importance of Songkran as a representative Intangible Cultural Heritage will also be taken.
“Thailand shall ensure that people of all races, genders, languages, and religious beliefs can participate in Songkran with a non-discriminatory access in all areas of the country while respecting customary practices of the communities, and shall cooperate with international communities to safeguard Songkran traditions,” he said.
“Songkran, as the world water festival, will bring people from all over the world to Thailand which will lead to more job opportunities and income, boosting the economy and continuously enhancing Thailand’s positive image,” Srettha said.
The decision to inscribe ‘Songkran in Thailand’ on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was reached during the 18th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, in Kasane, Botswana on Wednesday.
Songkran or Thai New Year, celebrated annually from April 13 to 15, is often marked with family reunions, paying respects to the elders, ancestors, and sacred Buddha images.
Pouring water, a significant act during Songkran, symbolises cleansing, reverence, and good fortune. This tradition is often accompanied by bathing important Buddha images and splashing water on family and friends, signifying the washing away of bad luck and the welcoming of a fresh start.