Songkran, or Water Festival, has been one of the most significant traditions of the people of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar for centuries. Considered a treasured tradition, the Water Festival reflects exquisite cultures and traditions of each country that have been passed on from one generation to generation that should be continued for years and years to come. Preservation of this valuable tradition helps instill the love of cultures and traditions in the younger generations as well as enables the people of each nation to manifest their identity of being Thai, Lao, and Myanmar. In addition, part of the Water Festival involves sprinkling scented water over a Buddha image, a delightful ceremony that signifies the new beginning when one can begin anew with new hopes and new aspirations. At the same time, people of the younger generations have a chance to sprinkle scented water over the hands of the elders in the family and the community to pay respect to them and ask for their blessings. The festival also means joyful moments when people splash water over one another delightfully and respectfully, thus using water as a medium to strengthen the bonds they have already shared. For these reasons, it can be concluded that the Water Festival is an immensely valuable cultural tradition that has long been an important part of the life of the people of these three countries.
Besides this, preserving cultures and traditions should be seen as one of the main missions of the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar people, a joint effort to uphold their ethnic identity and their nation’s uniqueness that they can proudly boast to people from the Western world.
To celebrate this tradition that has secured a special place in the heart of the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar people, Farmhouse Thai Kitchen has collaborated with Thai Trade Center North America, Thai Cultural Council of Freemont, Thai Cultural Council of Berkeley, Thai Cultural Council of Northern California, and other public agencies to organize the Thai - Lao - Myanmar Water Festival 2020.
We Love Who We Are
2.1 To carry on the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar Water Festival for the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar people as well as foreigners who are currently residing in the San Francisco and Bay Area
2.2 To offer the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar people as well as foreigners who are currently residing in the San Francisco and Bay Area a chance to take part in the conservation of a valuable Thai culture and tradition
2.3 To enhance the spirits of unity and camaraderie among the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar people in the local community
- Date, Time, and Venue
Saturday April 27, 2019, from 09:30 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. at Jack London Square, Oakland.
4.1 Qualitative target, Approximately 30,000 Thai, Lao, and Myanmar people as well as foreigners who are currently residing in the San Francisco and Bay Area become knowledgeable and appreciative of a beautiful and valuable culture and tradition of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, hence a stronger tie among them.
- Plan for Implementation
5.1 Organizing a meeting to allocate duties and responsibilities
5.2 Following up progresses
5.3 Preparing and decorating the venue of the festival
5.4 Arranging for the opening ceremony and other festival activities
Main activities of the Event
- Opening ceremony
- A beauty pageant of “Miss Songkran” of San Francisco and Bay Area 2020
- A contest of a popular Thai dish (Stylish Som-Tum, or spicy papaya salad)
- Sales of Thai food, drinks, souvenirs, and decorative items, at 50 booths (see attachment), which can be categorized as follows:
- 10 booths sponsored by public agencies and supporting organizations
- 30 food and drink kiosks of interested sellers
- 10 booths selling Thai souvenirs and decorative items
08:00 a.m.-09:00 a.m.
The venue is opened for kiosk set ups
09:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
-Mr. Mangkorn Pratumkaew, Consular General to Los Angeles, presiding over the opening ceremony (still in the arrangement process)
-Offering alms bowls (nonperishable food) to 29 monks
-Mr. Kasem Saengsawang, Chair of the Organizing Committee, giving a report to the Consular General
-The Consular General giving the opening speech
-Presentation of certificates to sponsors and activity participants
-Photo session of the Consular General and the organizing committee
-The Consular General and the guests visiting different booths and food and drink kiosks at the event
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Thai classical music and dance shows
12:00 p.m.-01:00 p.m.
First round of Miss Songkran Beauty Pageant, “Lanna Thai costume” (prepared by the organizing committee), during which the contestants introducing themselves and giving information about their weight and measurements, educational background, personal mottos, and attitudes toward spreading the Thai cultures in the Western world
**Remarks: the scores given to each contestant during this round will be calculated with the scores during the second round as follows: personality (10 points, wittiness and resourcefulness (10 points), and behavioral expressions (10 points). The panel of judges include:
- A representative of Thai Trade Center North America
- A representative of the Thai Cultural Council of Freemont
- A representative of the Thai Cultural Council of Berkeley
- A representative of the Thai Cultural Council of Northern California
- A representative of Singha Beer Company Limited
- A representative of Farmhouse Kitchen (also acting as the secretary of the panel of the judges)
01:00 p.m.-02:00 p.m.
Thai classical Thai music and dance shows
02:00 p.m.-04:00 p.m.
Second and Third rounds of Miss Songkran Beauty Pageant, “Traditional Thai costume” (prepared by the contestants), the interview round
**Remarks: The scores in the second round (the same panel of judges) totaling 20 points given to each contestant for their interview answers. The scores from the first and the second rounds will be combined, and the name of the three finalists will be announced.
**Remarks: The three finalists will be asked the same question on how to promote Thai cultures and traditions on a global level.
The names of Miss Songkran and the first and second runner-ups will be announced. The winner will be awarded with a trophy graciously conferred by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The three finalists will also be awarded with a sash by the Chair of the event.
Expected Outcomes and Benefits
The organization of the Thai - Lao - Myanmar Water Festival 2020 will significantly contribute to preservation of a highly valued cultural tradition of the three countries. Furthermore, the chance to participate in the festival can help instill the love of native cultures and traditions and the spirits of conservation in the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar participants. Finally, the organization of this precious tradition will generate a positive image of the members of the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar communities in the Western world.
Indicator of success: The Thai, Lao, and Myanmar people, as well as foreigners, who are currently residing in San Francisco and Bay Area will become knowledgeable and appreciative of the Thai, Lao, and Myanmar cultures and traditions, and the cross-cultural ties among these communities will be substantially strengthened.
Instruments used in the evaluation:
1. an observation form
2. an open-ended interview protocol
- Responsible Parties
9.1 Farmhouse Thai Kitchen, USA
9.2 Thai Trade Center North America
9.3 Thai Cultural Council of Fremont, Wat Buddhanusorn Temple
9.4 Thai Cultural Council of Berkeley, Wat Mongkolratanaram Temple
9.5 Thai Cultural Council of Northern California, Wat Buddhapradeepa
9.6 Thai Association of Northern California