Songkran promotes inter-racial unity

Celebrants use water guns to bath each other at any Songkran or Thai water festival

KANGAR: The Songkran or Thai water festival, which will be celebrated for three days beginning April 14 by the Siamese community this year, is a religious ritual to symbolise purification and the washing away of one’s sins and bad luck.

However, over the past few years, the Thai New Year’s national holiday, which is celebrated on the first day of the fifth month of the Thai lunar year, has also become a cultural event for the people of various races and religions in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, Songkran is also celebrated by the Siamese community in several states such as Perlis, Kelantan, Kedah and Penang.

For the he Siamese community in Kampung Guar Nangka, the Songkran festivals will be celebrated on April 18 in the compound of Wat Samnarsong Guar Nangka, Padang Besar.

Celebrants use water guns to bath each other at any Songkran or Thai water festival.

The programme, jointly organised by the Perlis Siamese Activist Association (Persiap) to foster the spirit of unity among the younger generation, will be from 10am to 6pm.

Persiap secretary Natthaujuth Seng said the Songkran festival is being given a new breath with it being celebrated by the people of various races and religions.

“Songkran is actually a water splashing festival, and for that, we have sought the assistance of the Perlis Fire and Rescue Department for use of its water hose to kick start the event, where there will also be performances by four local musical groups,” he told Bernama.

Natthaujuth said apart from the water splashing event, revellers would also be encouraged to stain or smear powder on one another’s face as a sign of friendship.

To avoid any untoward incident, the organiser has formed a security team to monitor event with the assistance of the police and the Malaysian Volunteer Corps (Rela) Department, he added.

He said the festival would begin with a one-hour long religious ritual at the temple in the morning.

He expected about 5,000 people to attend the festival and expressed hoped that the Songkran celebration would be included in the state’s tourism calendar and promoted for the Visit Malaysia 2020. – Bernama