Following the inclusion of the Songkran Festival to a tentative list for recognition as an intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Thai authorities plan to promote the festival in a more traditional way in key tourist provinces this April.
Kowit Pakamart, Director-General of the Department of Cultural Promotion, said his department is collaborating with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to promote traditional Songkran to showcase Thai culture for this year. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt reaffirmed the collaboration, adding that the city’s cultural council will host events throughout the year to promote the nation’s intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in the capital. It will also promote information on ICHs, including cultural displays in Bangkok’s 50 districts.
The Department of Cultural Promotion said it plans to work with provincial authorities to promote the festival in provinces throughout Thailand. Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Si Thammarat in particular are expected to represent the Thai New Year festival in their respective regions.
Thailand now has three UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritages. These include the Khon, also known as the Thai Masked Dance Drama; Nuad Thai, the traditional Thai massage; and Nora, the traditional performance from the Southern provinces of Thailand.
The Songkran Festival is expected to be Thailand’s fourth ICH if the celebration is approved by UNESCO this year. (NNT)