Songkran celebrations are subdued this year, as revelers are banned from splashing water on one another due to the COVID-19 situation. However, people are still making merit by offering alms to Buddhist monks, while temples are maintaining social distancing measures.
At the Rama IX Golden Jubilee Temple in Bangkok, Buddhists make merit to celebrate the traditional Thai New Year and honor their ancestors. They offer food to monks and take part in various other activities. The temple is following government guidelines and those of the Sangha Supreme Council. Thermal screening and social distancing measures are enforced, while hand sanitizers are placed throughout the temple to ensure the safety of visitors.
The deputy abbot of the temple, Phra Ratchawinai Sunthorn, said the current situation has dampened the Songkran atmosphere, but it makes people aware of the uncertainty of this world. He hoped the public will get through this crisis safely.
At Samakkhi Upatham temple, in Bueng Kan province, a merit-making ceremony was held to celebrate the Songkran festival. Buddhist monks and followers maintained a distance from each other of one to two meters. People used alcohol gel before entering the temple hall, and they are encouraged to wear face masks.
In a commercial area of Songkhla province, families got together to offer rice, dried food and desserts to monks and novices to preserve the cultural heritage. The monks and the people were all wearing face masks while keeping a safe distance from each other to help prevent the viral spread.
At a marketplace in Yala province, monks received food, desserts and flowers from Buddhist followers and gave them spiritual blessings. Everyone was wearing face masks and maintained a gap of one to two meters to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. (NNT)