By The Nation
Scheduled to run through Monday, the festival features cultural performances, a parade of Songkran Goddesses from four periods of Thai history, bathing the Buddha images to obtain their blessing, sand pagoda making, and water splashing by the Chao Phraya River. Ann Thongprasom, Thailand’s top actress, lights up the event in her role as the beautiful Songkran Goddess or Tungsa Dhevi.
Among the major parties involved are Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Culture Ministry’s Department of Cultural Promotion, Bangkok Metropolitan Cultural Council, Kasikorn Bank, Sooksiam, and the Association of Chao Phraya Commerce on Charoen Nakorn Road.
Yesterday saw the “Songkran Niramit Procession” portraying Thai court culture in four eras while today (April 12) is the “Roong Aroon Boon Songkran Procession” depicting cultural performances of the Sukhothai period with actress Natapohn “Taew” Tameeruks in traditional Thai silk costumes with gold accessories and rubies.
Tomorrow, April 13, features Procession of Thai’s Court Sri Prasarn Athigamas of the Ayudhya period. Depicting the cultural richness in this period is Woranuch “Nune” Bhirombhakdi, who will wearing a traditional red costume with gold accessories and red gemstones.
Sunday will see the “Procession of Fuen Jit Ras Ruenrerng” of the Thonburi period led by Chalida “Mint” Vijitvongthong. And April 15 will be “Siam Bun Therng Sook Jai Procession” of the Rattanakosin period by led by Patcharawan “On” Hutaseranee, Miss Thailand runner up 2014.
The festival will also feature a concert by Nont Tanont and Da Endorphine plus water splashing with along the Chao Phraya River.
Experience the spirit of Thai with Buddha Bathing Ceremony where devout Buddhists pour scented water on Buddha images for New Year blessings. Four highly worshipped Buddha images of each Thai era will be presented - Shinnasri Buddha from the Sukhothai period, Nimit Vichitmarn Molee Sri Sanpetch Borom Tri Lok Nart Buddha representing the Ayudhya period, Buddham Viseth Sasada Buddha from Thonburi Dynasty and Siam Dheva Thirat Buddha of the Rattanakosin period.
Also on display will be the Songkran Exhibition, depicting the festival’s history and tradition, cultural performances like Viva Songkran Dance, Silk Reeling Dance, traditional drumming and traditional Isaan dancing or Vichanee Serng Tung Wai. Visitors can also take part in free workshops including making scented fans and scented water, Thai-pattern fabric painting and the art of fruit and vegetable carving, plus dressing in Thai traditional costumes for photo opportunities, all free of charge.
In collaboration with Thai Beverage, Sooksiam will host “Yoo Yen Pen Sook” where the stories along the majestic river are connected and intertwined. Seven activities that embrace the typical Thai happiness or “sook” also await. “Sook Som Wang” will allow people to bathe the Buddha images from four regions of the country. “Sook Sueb Sarn and Sook Sampan” offer an opportunity to pour water on the hands of elderly residents from Ban Bang Khae while “Sook Sanook” has a Ferris wheel, egg pond game, and sand pagoda making. “Sook Saneh” will be a Songkran beauty pageant contest in the Sook Siam City and “Sook Saeb” offers Thai cuisine from different regions. “Sook Sang Sun” will indulge shoppers with Thai hand-craft products.
Among the VIPs attended the opening event, all of them dressed in traditional Thai silk costumes, were ML Somrada Jumbala, ML Avita Yugala, Nakwan Rayananont, Sarunpak Phenjati, Tharawadee Snidwong na Ayudhya, Lisa Jira, Thida Jira, Panita Sornthaitheva, Jarospan Svasti Na Ayudhya, Wimonrat Jongrattana Metheekul, Praewpreya Jumsai na Ayudhya, Jirapa Laksanawisit, Supamas Laksanawisit, Pattamawadee Senanarong and Supinda Wangsupkana.