Sukhothai temple finds ingenious way of Covid-proofing Songkran ritual
A temple in Sukhothai has found an innovative way of keeping monks and worshippers safe from Covid-19 during the Song Nam Phra ritual for Songkran.
Wat Khuha Suwan in Muang district has installed a hosepipe punctured with holes so that worshippers can keep their distance as they bathe the hands or feet of monks with scented water.
The Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration has urged people to maintain social distancing during Songkran ceremonies to prevent a surge of infections over the Thai New Year.
At Wat Khuha Suwan on Thursday, seated monks placed their hands under a hole in the pipe. Meanwhile the water was poured by worshippers into an elevated pedestal at the top of the pipe, from where it flowed down onto the monks’ hands.
As per tradition, the monks chanted Pali-Sanskrit verses to bless the Songkran worshippers.
All participants, including the monks, wore face masks to keep the virus at bay.
Not far from the temple is Mae Ram Phan Reservoir, a tourist hotspot in Sukhothai’s Taling Chan subdistrict and the site of another unique Songkran attraction.
This year, the local authority has built 15 leisure rafts with straw roofing for tourists to wallow in traditional watery fun while being shaded from the summer heat.
Motorboats are used to tug the rafts out into the reservoir, where people are invited to swim, float in innertubes, or picnic with family members. Thermal screening and face masks are mandatory for the raft trip, while tourists must also show a negative ATK test before boarding the rafts.