On 14 April 2023, representatives from the embassies of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar in Viet Nam have had a sharing on the beautiful culture of the Water Festivals in ASEAN countries: New Year, New Beginning. The event welcomed the participation of the representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The sharing was organized by C asean Vietnam to promote the amazing cultures of the ASEAN countries as well as to enhance the close collaboration amongst the region.
Water Festivals in ASEAN take place from 13 to 16 April yearly. The Water Festivals in ASEAN mark the ending of a year and welcome a new beginning. Despite the differences in names, the Water Festivals of these countries have many similarities, with people splashing and sprinkling water on each other as water would help to wash away bad things and bring a happy new year.
Opening the sharing, Mrs. Nguyen Phuong Hoa, Director General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, shared the best wishes to the people of the neighboring countries of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia on the occasion of the new year. “Water Festival is one of the prides of ASEAN culture. The countries in our region all have such diverse and colorful cultures. Also, culture is an important pillar that help ASEAN comes together as one under a multicultural and multiethnic roof with a common vision.”
Mr. Phan Minh Giang, Deputy Director General of the ASEAN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that Viet Nam, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand are closed neighbors, developing together in the ASEAN communities, having many supporting activities in the past, building a peaceful, stable, collaborative, and growing ASEAN community. “The cultural festivals of ASEAN, including the Water Festivals of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, are the unique beauty of the ASEAN community. Culture becomes the linking bridge amongst ASEAN in diversity, unity, and solidarity.”
At the event, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Viet Nam, H.E. Mr. Nikorndej Balankura shared that the Songkran Water Festival was an important tradition for Thais, taking place in 3 days 13-15 April 2023 yearly. The meaning of Songkran lies in the hope to wash away the sadness in the previous year, together aiming for a positive new year, with luck for oneself, family, and everyone. Songkran is also an occasion to show respect, love, and gratefulness. The Ambassador also said that this year, the Royal Thai Embassy has collaborated with the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam to host an event “Songkran in Hanoi” and other activities in Ho Chi Minh city to celebrate Songkran.
For Laotians, the traditional Water Festival Boun Pimai is most vibrant during the 3rd day of the new year. Before splashing water, people usually give each other the best wishes. Laotian people believe that water would help to wash away bad things, illness and bring a new year of luck and health. At the event, Mr. Chanthaphone Khammanichanh, Counsellor, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Laos PDR to Viet Nam, happily shared that the leaders of the Party and the State of Viet Nam really care about the traditional Boun Pimai new year of Laotian people. The celebration of this year’s Boun Pimai was hosted by the Embassy of the Laos PDR in Viet Nam on 11 April 2023 in Hanoi and received the participation from the senior leaders. This year, several universities in Viet Nam which have Laotian students have hosted celebrations for Boun Pimai and were joined by the representatives from the embassy.
Joining the sharing, Ms. San San Yin, Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to Vietnam, has shared on the Thingyan Water Festival – the most important festival of Burmese. Thingyan this year was from 14-16 April and the Burmese new year will start on 17 April. During this time, Burmese joyfully carry out water-splashing activities to wish for a great prosperous new year.
The sharing event took place on the day the Viet Nam is hosting different activities to celebrate the traditional new year of the neighboring countries in ASEAN. Ms. Nguyen Phuong Hoa has expressed the appreciation to C asean’s organization of the meaningful event to create conversations about the beauty of the Water Festival tradition in the region. Ms. Hoa also stressed that culture holds a great power in building a sustainable and prosperous ASEAN community.