Bangkok to observe low-key Songkran as mourning period continues

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SONGKRAN – a recognition of Thailand’s New Year – is commonly a raucous affair.

This year, however, Bangkok officials have taken measures to tone down the usual festivities, as the nation continues to mourn for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died last October.

Street water wars – what Songkran has been fondly associated with – will still take place along Silom Road and vehicles will be blocked between noon and 10pm.

However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) governor Pol General Aswin Kwanmuang said loud music and dancing on the backs of pick-up trucks would be prohibited.

Revealing clothes, alcohol, water guns, street concerts and powder-pasting are also discouraged.

Aswin urged people to throw and spray water only within designated zones so as not to impose on others, especially to those heading to the Grand Palace to pay their respects to the late King.

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Phra Nakorn district chief Supakrit Boonkhan told Straits Times: “This year’s Songkran will be on the conservative side, in line with the original tradition. We will not allow dancing, loud music or stage performances of any kind in public places.”

The popular Miss Songkran beauty pageant will also not be held this year.

Songkran – the Kingdom’s biggest festival – attracts about half a million tourists each year.