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‘Songkran in Thailand’ declared an UNESCO ‘intangible cultural heritage’

Thailand’s Songkran festival, celebrating the new year, has been added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, joining other traditional Thai practices. Celebrations last three days.

## UNESCO includes Songkran in Thailand in Intangible Cultural Heritage List

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has added “Songkran in Thailand, Traditional Thai New Year Festival” to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The announcement was made during the 18th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, being held in the Republic of Botswana. This prestigious recognition follows the inclusion of other Thai traditions such as masked dance drama, traditional Thai massage, and dance drama in Southern Thailand.

## Significance of Songkran

UNESCO stated that Songkran marks the traditional start of the new year in Thailand and is a time for family reunions, paying respect to elders, ancestors, and sacred Buddha images, and symbolizing cleansing, reverence, and good fortune through the act of pouring water. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has been promoting the festival for years, and Governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool expressed excitement for the upcoming Songkran Festival, promising grand celebrations.

## Songkran Festival in Thailand

Officially observed as a three-day national holiday from 13-15 April, the Songkran Festival offers tourists the chance to enjoy water parties and vibrant celebrations, while locals use it as an opportunity to spend time with family and participate in ancient rites. The festival was also recognized by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) as one of the three major festivals of Asia in 2021.

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