Thai Puan’s Elephant Ordination Tradition, Ban Hat Siew (7 April) at Wat Hat Siew in Si Satchanalai district. Held annually for over 175 years, this is an ancient ordination ceremony that all local men must become monks for at least seven days and every year, the ordinations take place on this date. The men prepared in the traditional way are taken to the temples on elephants while wearing local headgear. This ritual is based upon the tale of “Phra Vessandara Chadok” one of the Lord Buddha’s former incarnations. Most of the men leave the temples on Songkran day on 15 April to enjoy New Year with their families.
Song Nam – Oi Tan Ceremony, Songkran Si Satchanalai (8-12 April) at the Monument of Phra Mahathammaracha I (Lithai) in Si Satchanalai district. Oi Tan, is a phrase that means to make a donation and relates to the good morals of the people of Sukhothai. The highlight is a procession to pay respects to Phra Maha Thammaracha I, who was a king of Sukhothai from 1347 to 1368. Other highlights include cultural parades from the 10 local communities, Lady Oi Tan beauty competition, a food fair and music performance.
Songkran and Sawankhalok Food Festival (11-15 April) at the Public Health Park in Sawankhalok district. Here visitors can Song Nam Phraor purifying the three highly-revered Buddha images from three most important temples of the district, including Wat Sawang Arom Worawihan, Wat Sankaram, and Wat Klong Krajong. Other highlights are a local food fair and a chance to ‘check-in’ at the newly-created ‘Pop Culture’ street art created by famous ASEAN artists.
Retro Songkran Splendours, Sukhothai (12-14 April) at Sukhothai Historical Park. Celebrating the ancient city’s status as the cradle of Thai civilization, visitors can embrace the old-style features of the event with traditional costumes and age-old games, parades and merit making. One of the most popular events is the sand pagoda building contest in which families compete to make stunning designs.
Flowery Shirt Songkran on Khao Tok Road, Sukhothai (12-15, April) at the Sukhothai city and Sukhothai public park. Tourists and locals are invited to wear colourful Hawaiian-style shirts, which have become a firm Songkran tradition. Highlights include a float procession and the chance to pay respects to the Buddha images, water fun, retro Thai circle dance activities and beauty contests.
Hae Nam Kuen Hong Ceremony and Chao Muen Dong Bathing Rite (17-19 April) at the Monument of Chao Muen Dong, Ban Toek sub-district in Si Satchanalai district. Activities include a sacred ceremony to pay respect to the Buddha image of Chao Muen Dong at Ban Toek, folk plays and a procession of elephants as well as cultural parades from 14 local communities. Water-based activities can be enjoyed at Ban Toek-Ban Na Ton Chan tourism communities.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Sukhothai Office
Tel. +66 (0) 5561 6228-9
For more information: http://www.tourismthailand.org