Thailand celebrates Songkran in the new normal, without the splash

While its back to basics for Songkran 2021 in Thailand, global visitors were able to virtually learn about the culture, meet elephants and make papaya salad.

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The annual festival will go ahead this week but vigorous water splashing is not permitted.
Image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand

To celebrate the annual Songkran festival, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) last week held a virtual pre-event celebration to educate global viewers worldwide more about the Thai festival and New Year.

Songkran’s traditions and history were presented into an event entitled Spring Into Songkran Splendors to global viewers via a live Zoom broadcast from Chiang Mai.

The broadcast will feature several segments that highlight Thailand’s traditional culture, festivals and food.

Beginning with a segment on the meaning and importance of Songkran, it will then broadcast a traditional water blessing from the Ban Rai Kong Khing community. Further segments looked at elephant care tourism and Thai food culture, in particular how to make Thai papaya salad.

Water splashing will not be happening for the Songkran festival which falls on Apr 12 to 15 this week.

In a normal year, crowds would pack the streets, spraying water guns or flinging water from pick-up trucks in what has been described as the world’s biggest water fight.

“Water splashing will not happen this Songkran. We must ask you to cooperate with us,” Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for Thailand’s COVID-19 taskforce, told media in a briefing.

While parties would also be banned, though a tradition of pouring water over the hands of older people, religious activities and travel between provinces to visit relatives would be allowed.

Millions of Thais are allowed to travel around the country — often from urban areas to rural villages. The government has not prevented people from traveling during the new year.

In 2020 Songkran was cancelled as Thailand was right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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