The Thai Community in Dubai celebrating the Songkran Festival, or the Thai New Year at the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Dubai Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: A wet and wild Friday afternoon greeted revellers at the Royal Thai Consulate-General as part of the celebration of the Songkran Festival or the Thai New Year.

The Songkran festival is celebrated from April 13 to 15 each year, and in some Thai provinces until April 19. The celebration is marked by huge water fights across Thailand known as Len-Nam, where Len stands for “play” while Nam means “water”.

“Songkran festival is one of the most important events among Thai people. This is the time of the year when most Thais travel back to their community, taking time to visit the elderly,” Thai Ambassador to the UAE Warawudh Chuwiruch told Gulf News.

Chuwiruch said among the many important customs Thais do during Songkran festival is the ‘Rod Nam Dam Hua’ where young people pay respects to the elderly by pouring water over their hands to seek their forgiveness and blessing.

“When we work in other countries, the tradition is not the same. And since there are those who can’t go back to Thailand right now, we thought of organising this celebration here to make the community happy and feel at home,” Chuwiruch said.

Well wishes were exchanged throughout the celebration. Thai Consul-General Thosaporn Moonlasartsathorn said: “We hope for all the Thais in Dubai and the northern emirates to have good health, prosperity, and good luck this new year.”

Warangkhana Mitchell, president of the Thai Ladies Club in Dubai and the northern emirates and organiser of the event, told Gulf News that besides praying for their families, the community is also united in praying for peace throughout Thailand.

“We’re making birds made from paper to signify our hope for peace for South Thailand where there is conflict right now. We are all Thais. We should not think of ourselves as Thai Muslims or Thai Buddhists, instead make peace with each other,” she said.