The Songkran festival has made a comeback in Hong Kong for the fourth consecutive year, introduced by the city’s growing Thai community.
Songkran Festival is regarded as preparation for the coming year, Thai New Year, that takes place between the 13th and the 15th of April every year.
Photo 1: Worshipping the deities by bathing them in water. (Photo by: Mayuri Wadhwani)
In Hong Kong, Songkran has been celebrated since 2015, with various activities such as Thai markets selling traditional foods, clothes and accessories, as well as a variety of programs such as the Water babies (a fashion runway contest in collaboration with HK Talent Star), water fights, and Songkran parades. This year’s festival was held at D2 Place in Lai Chi Kok, unlike the previous years where it was held in Kowloon City (also known as the Little Thailand of Hong Kong).
“In Thailand, we celebrate the hot season in April as the new year. Songkran means to wash away the old things (a reason for the water fight) while also becoming fresh and clean for the new year,” said Kop Patamaporn, a Thai dance teacher at Greenhope Centre in Kowloon City who ran a booth at the Thai market. “This year the festival is three days long, we get a lot of media coverage, which is good to promote the event.”
Photo 2: A child participating in the water fight armed with her water gun. (Photo by: Mayuri Wadhwani)
The festivities provide an opportunity for Hong Kongers and people of other nationalities to come together and celebrate Thai culture. The festival also incorporates companies such as Beauty Solutions and JMKTV to promote Thai culture through their services.
Keith Lam, working for the media partners of the festival the TV channel JMKTV, introduced a project that they were working on and recently shot in Thailand which will be broadcasted on their TV channel, in an attempt to promote Thai food culture to Cantonese-speaking viewers in Hong Kong.
Stephanie Lam, an assistant at the Beauty Solutions booth, another Hong Kong company promoting Thai culture by providing Thai massages and makeup, said, “We have tried to incorporate the Chinese beauty treatments that we are known for.”
Photo 3: Water babies, a fashion show contest displaying top Thai brands modelled by children. (Photo by: Mayuri Wadhwani)
In addition to using Hong Kong brands to promote Thai culture, “five famous Thai clothing brands are being showcased at the fashion show, Water babies,” added Patamaporn. This integration of Thai culture into Hong Kong, brings Hong Kong closer to being a melting pot.