1 April 2013: To mark the Thai New Year or Songkran festival, Bangkok’s municipality will organise special activities, 12 to 15 April, at the City Hall Plaza while a four-region Songkran fair will be held at four main temples in the capital.

Bangkok Culture, Sports, and Tourism Department director Pranee Satayaprakop said the activities are scheduled to start at 0800, 12 April when the Phra Buddha Sihing will be moved from the Putthai Sawan Pavilion at the National Museum to be housed at a ceremonial site at City Hall.

The Buddha image will be carried in a floral procession to arrive at City Hall about 1900 to mark the start of an official opening ceremony, presided over by the Bangkok governor.

On 13 April, a ceremony to offer food to 186 monks during the morning alms round will begin at 0800 with a ceremony to sprinkle scented lustral water on the palms of the elderly to pay respect to them on the Thai New Year.

Free rides to nine temples will be offered to the public to make merit. Cultural performances and music shows will be on stage. Local products from Bangkok’s 50 districts will be sold at the event.

Making merit, donation, and paying respect to Buddha Images at nine temples is all part of the symbolism to begin the new year on a worthy note and encourage good luck. The temples are:

• Temple of Dawn (Blessing: A glorious life);

• Wat Rakang Kositaram (To be admired and loved);

• Wat Phra Kaew (Endless wealth and prosperity);

• Wat Pho (Calmness is happiness, to live peacefully);

• Wat Chanasongkram (Conquer all obstacles);

• Wat Suthat Thepwararam (To posses great vision);

• Wat Kalayanamit (Having a safe journey and good friends);

• Wat Sraket or Golden Mount (Create auspicious vision);

• Wat Bowornniwet Vihara Rajaworavihara (Having good things in life).

The fair will run through 15 April when the Phra Buddha Sihing will be moved back to the Phuttai Sawan Pavilion.

Paying homage to the sacred Phra Buddha Sihing, giving alms to 186 monks and trips to nine temples are the traditional highlights of the capital city’s Songkran festivities.

In addition, four region activities will be held at four Bangkok temples, to coincide with activities at City Hall, 12 to 15 April. The four-region Songkran fair will be held at Wat Pho, Wat Suthat Thepwararam, Wat Ratchaorasaram, and Wat Srakateratchaworamahaviharn.