April 13th, 2019 – Songkran – เทศกาลสงกรานต์
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to the Canadian Thai community on the occasion of Songkran or Thai New Year.
Songkran is the first day of the New Year according to the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar; it marks the day when the sun shifts to the Aries sign in the zodiac system. The word ‘Songkran’, taken from the Sanskrit language, connotes a period of transformation and change. Traditionally, Songkran is observed on April 13th of every year, with the national holiday period lasting from April 12th to 16th to allow for Thai citizens to travel home and celebrate with their families.
To mark the occasion of Songkran, Thai peoples and members of Thai diasporas make visits to Buddhist temples and present offerings of food to monks. Water pouring rituals are often performed on Buddha statues, as well as the young and elderly, to ‘wash away’ the bad luck of the previous year. In the Thai Capital of Bangkok, major roads and streets are closed off and converted into water-fight arenas for one day.
Toronto is a proud multicultural City that embraces a wide variety of cultures and faiths. Our City flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. It is important to recognize each and every community that plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.
As the Newcomer’s Advocate with the City of Toronto I strongly believe that we must work to together to promote togetherness. We must Respect our newcomer communities. We must Accept our newcomer communities. We should Celebrate our diversity and Embrace our different cultures and traditions, because we are all part of the human RACE.