Songkran Water Festival Goes Waterless in Singapore

Singapore's 'Celebrate Songkran' website still features water splashing despite the announcement of organizers that the event will be waterless to emphasize water conservation

Singapore's ‘Celebrate Songkran’ website still features water splashing despite the announcement of organizers that the event will be waterless to emphasize water conservation

Singapore will hold a Songkran festival this month but it will be literally dry. This is quite strange since Songkran is Thailand’s New Year celebration which features a lot of water throwing. The water symbolizes cleansing.

Instead of water splashing, organizers of Songkran in Singapore will emphasize water conservation. There will be a bazaar, Thai boxing, Thai music and food during the event.

Some Thai officials are not happy with the Songkran celebration in Singapore since it’s the first time that it will be conducted in another country without the sponsorship of either Thai communities or Thai authorities. They are also worried that the event in Singapore would deviate from the essential cultural meaning of Songkran.

Musings From the Lion City criticizes the Singapore Tourism Board for cancelling the ‘the most fundamental part of the festival’:

I’ll be honest. I have no idea Singapore had a “Celebrate Songkran 2014” festival planned and after hearing this news, I wish I had continued my ignorance. What in the world was the Singapore Tourism Board thinking when they decide to hold a foreign festival in Singapore and then cancelled the most fundamental part of the festival?

I’m all for conserving water but what’s a Songkran festival without water? That’s like chicken rice without the chicken! Water conservation and the Songkran festival do not go together.

The Singapore Songkran website is misleading because it has a photo of water splashing, according to Stranger in Bangkok:

If I can give my 2 cents worth to the organising committee, I feel that all backdrops and information regarding water pistol fights on the website need to be removed immediately in case more paying attendees (as not all events are free) are misled, and that the name of the festival needs to be carefully reconsidered, at least for future versions of the same event.

No water, no Songkran. Period.

Everything Also Complain also rejected the idea of a waterless Songkran:

If you want to enjoy REAL Songkran without some event organiser messing it up and turning it into a poor man’s foam party (without the foam of course), yet don’t want to be seen wasting water, you can do it at a pool or beach where you can splash all you want. More importantly, it’s FREE…

Barry reminded Singapore organizers that Songkran is more than just a commercial festival in Thailand:

And so the very meaning of Songkran has been diltued (pun intended) before it's even got of the ground. You see the use of water isn't just a frivalious activity, no, it is meant as a blessing and a sign of respect. In fact it is the most fundamental element of the festival itself, so without it there can be no Songkran.

In my opinion Singapore simply cannot compete for this Thai festival and it's attempt to do so it quite frankly laughable. It will be the LAST place anyone with any interest in Songkran would want to be. You see Thailand doesn't celebrate Songkran in a tiny little field with no water, no, it's a Country wide celebration involving every member of the community because THAT is what Songkran is really about.


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