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Asia Society Supports The 1000 Smiles Songkran Festival

by Janina Bernardo
19 April 2016

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) together with the Thai Embassy celebrated this year’s Songkran festival with the theme 1000 Smiles Thai Festival last April 15 – 17, at Boni High Street in BGC, Taguig. 

Songkran is the most popular festival in Thailand that marks the beginning of the new solar year and the start of the summer season. The word "Songkran" comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti, literally "astrological passage," meaning transformation or change. It is usually celebrated by splashing water at family, friends and passers-by. This symbolizes washing off of all misfortunes in the past year and welcoming the New Year with a fresh new start. Thai families often come together to prepare flower garlands and washes the hands of their elders with scented water to wish them a long and healthy life.

The event officially opened with the traditional Buddha blessing ritual. This was performed by pouring water on the Buddha icon, which represents purification and the washing away of bad luck. The occasion was graced by Thailand Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Thanalip Upatising and Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasom. DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. was also present. Miss Thailand 2014, Wilasinee Chanwuttiwong, was the program host for the evening.

In his welcome remarks, Thailand Ambassador Upatising noted the long history of cooperation and further strengthening of ties between Thailand and the Philippines. Governor Supasom added that there has been a growing number of tourism exchanges in the two countries. Filipinos visiting Thailand now number 300,000 a year and he expects this trend to continue.

During the three day festival, visitors were treated to demos on various handicrafts such as Khon Mask painting, celadon ceramic painting, Thai umbrella painting, palm leaves weaving, flower making and organic aroma making. They also sampled traditional Thai food including Thai Roti Sai Mai (Thai sweet crepe made from spun sugar and wrapped with a freshly made spring roll), tamarind candies and rice crackers. To beat the searing heat, attendees downed ice cold Chang beer and iced Thai milk tea and coffee. Popular Thai restaurants Benjarong and Mango Tree as well as the Dusit Thani Hotel also participated in the event.

Aside from celebrating the Thai New Year, the fair also aims to promote unique destinations for visitors to visit on their next holiday to Thailand.