On December 5th, 2023, Mr. Kowit Phakamas, the Director-General of the Thai Department of Cultural Promotion, publicly announced the registration of the Songkran Festival in Thailand as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.
The intergovernmental committee meeting was held at Kasane City in the Republic of Botswana, at 5:00 PM, on December 6th, 2023, under the 18th Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Kowit delightfully revealed great news to the Thai people that UNESCO would register the Songkran festival as humanity’s intangible cultural heritage, which would preserve national cultural wisdom.
Furthermore, it would strengthen mutual knowledge and understanding for foreigners living in Thailand of diversity of cultural differences. It would promulgate “Soft Power” to international stages which stimulate the Thai economy and generate financial income for the country, said Kowit.
The Thai government will arrange a Songkran celebration parade of “Humanity’s Cultural Heritage” at Bangkok City Hall and Wat Suthat, Bangkok, on December 7th at 6:00 p.m. The celebration event will have the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Srettha Thavisin, cabinets, and government officials participate.
TPN Media notes that recently Thailand’s Pheu Thai Party Leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra proposed making Songkran a month long, which led many to believe this meant water fights for thirty days, which caused major concerns and criticisms from environmental activists and many ex-pats who dislike the water festival.
However, she has since clarified that she only meant a month of cultural events, concerts, decorations, markets, and festivals, leaving the current water celebration days the same in current provinces. In most of the provinces Songkran water fights run for three days, such as the 13th-15th in Bangkok. Pattaya, however, often runs for eight days or more and isn’t expected to change.