Embassy hosts Songkran festival

James Kon

Members of the Diplomatic Corp and prominent figures in the local community including Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin attended the Songkran Festival or Water Festival organised by the Royal Thai Embassy in Brunei Darussalam yesterday.

The festival also featured cultural performances, traditional ceremony for Songkran as well as Thai Street food.

Ambassador of Thailand to Brunei Darussalam Wanthanee Viputwongsakul explained that “Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year which is also observed in other South and Southeast Asian including Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and some parts of India and Vietnam as well as in Yunan province of China. It marks a shift in the solar calendar.”

In Thailand, she said “Songkran is a national holiday which is celebrated annually from April 13 to 15. Celebration begins on April 13 which is also the Day of the Senior or Elderly. The occasion marks the appreciation for the senior population for their years of contribution to the family and country.

“Meanwhile, April 14 is designated as Family Day to celebrate family love and togetherness. Traditionally, Thais celebrate the auspicious event by pouring water in the hands of their elders to seek blessings. Thais also visit places of worship and perform merit-making activities.”

While in the modern time, “Songkran developed into a kingdom-wide water festival, taking place every April coinciding with Thailand’s hottest month. It is one of Thailand’s most famous festivals among tourists which is commonly celebrated by people throwing and splashing water at each other,” she added.

The ambassador also noted that Songkran being one of Thailand’s major festivals has significantly impacted the tourism sector and the country’s economy when the celebration was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the Thai Government allowed for the festival to be celebrated with strict disease control measures to stimulate tourism and economy.

Ambassador of Thailand to Brunei Darussalam Wanthanee Viputwongsakul and Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin in a group photo. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
A traditional Thai dance performance