The formal event kicked off at 7pm with an opening address by Governor Norraphat, joined by his wife Mrs Sudawan, who sits as the President of the Phuket chapter of the Red Cross.
Also present were Phuket’s three Vice Governors Snith Sriwihok, Thawornwat Kongkaew and Prakob Wongmaneerung. as well as Chief of Phuket Cultural Office Uthai Pattanapichai and Chief of the Phuket Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports Sirawee Waloh.
Making a rare public appearance was Watcharin Pathomwattanapong, Acting Chief of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor).
Governor Norraphat called for all Thais to be proud of their culture and traditions and to not lose their unique culture.
“The Songkran Festival is a long-held tradition, marking the significance of the Thai New Year since ancient times,” Gov Norraphat said.
“During the Songkran Festival, there is merit making for those who have passed away and water blessings for our elders to express our respect, gratitude and happiness in the Thai New Year,” he added.
However, Gov Norraphat noted, “At present, the Thai economy and society have changed dramatically. To maintain good traditions is to instill in children and youth such values and have people continue to do good things.
“In Phuket. the goal is to hold activities to pass on this beautiful tradition, especially through the development of this Thalang memorial site as a landmark for tourism culture of Thalang,” he added.
“Through continuous cultural activities we can promote this venue to be become well known and attract tourists to admire the way of life of the people of Thalang. This will create jobs, create profitable businesses for people in the community and will become one way to help promote stable, sustainable tourism in Phuket,” Gov Norraphat noted.
Phuket Cultural Office Chief Ms Uthai called on people visiting the park to join in the festivities by wearing traditional Thai costumes during Songkran.
Festivities at the park today began at 9am, with a blessing ceremony followed by traditional games and dance performances, as well as demonstrations highlighting life during Phuket’s past, local cooking demonstrations and traditional Thai food available for sample.
Throughout the Songkran holidays, from April 12-16, special performances and demonstrations will be held from 4pm to 10pm each night.