The Songkran festival of Thailand has been formally recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The official announcement was made at the Intergovernmental Committee meeting for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Botswana on Dec. 6.
According to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Songkran is a tradition that has been inherited by Thai people for generations, reflecting their gratitude to ancestors and embodying the spirit of unity.
Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year celebrated nationwide on April 13-15 each year. Activities include offering alms to monks, cultural performances and water-splashing activities.
Songkran promotes community cooperation, unity and forgiveness. It is viewed as a time to symbolically wash away misfortunes, pray for prosperity for the coming year, reunite with family members, and honor ancestors and older adults, UNESCO said in a statement.
By emphasizing the importance of older adults and of family, Songkran helps to combat loneliness and social isolation, it said.
Thais were invited to participate in various activities to mark the listing in Bangkok on Dec. 7.
Prime Minister Srettha said that the government is ready to welcome tourists from all over the world to participate and experience the Songkran festival.
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