News : Royal Thai Embassy host Thai New Years (Songkran Festival) in Pretoria News

News : Royal Thai Embassy host Thai New Years (Songkran Festival) in Pretoria

           On Sunday 22 April 2018, the Royal Thai Embassy hosted “Songkran Festival in Pretoria” to celebrate the Traditional Thai new year, with over four hundred South Africans, Thais, and diplomats attending the event.

            In his opening remarks, Mr. Paisit Boonparlit, Minister and the Charge d’Affaire of the Royal Thai Embassy, highlighted the importance of the Songkran festival, which celebrates traditional Thai new years in a holiday period that enables Thai families to spend quality times together and receives blessing from the elderly in hopes for an auspicious new year. He also expressed his appreciation for the participation by the Thai communities which contributed to the success of the event and the solidarity and unity of the Thai community.

            Members of the diplomatic communities also gained first-hand experience in cultural activities that the Thai people usually conduct during the Songkran Festival, including bathing the Buddha statue with scented water, a scented water pouring ceremony to respected members of society of family, and the taking part in traditional Thai folk dances to celebrate the New Year. Afterwards, a Buddhist merit making ceremony was performed by the Buddhist monk from Johannesburg Meditation Centre, with Col. Suthep Khiewpakdee, Defence Attache, and Mr. Aphirak Paepuang, Minister of the Commercial offices, hosting to the ceremony.

            During the course of the day, guests enjoyed the taste of Thailand through various delicacies, services, and entertainments offered by the Thai community. Many also took part in the traditional cultural activities for a blessed new year, according to the Thai people. Many younger guests also enjoyed getting soaked during water fights. Members of the Thai community also participated in the traditional costume and karaoke contest and created a lively atmosphere at the venue.

            The event is part of the effort by the Royal Thai Embassy to offer a glimpse of important Thai culture for those outside the Kingdom and to help forge closer ties between South African and Thais, strengthening further the understanding of Thai culture and tradition in South Africa during the year that the two countries celebrates 25 years of diplomatic ties.