Songkran or Thai New Year is back with a bang this year. Chef Nuit Regular, and her partner in life and business Jeff, are inviting Toronto to their one-day-only special event, this Saturday, April 15th, at PAI Downtown. This Toronto Thai hotspot will be transformed into Songkran Market, with fun activities and traditional rituals to celebrate the Thai New Year.
LET’S GET CULTURAL! WHAT IS SONGKRAN?
Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year, is one of the most important cultural festivals in Thailand. It’s celebrated from April 13th to 15th every year. The festival is deeply rooted in Thai culture and holds great cultural significance.
One of the most important aspects of Songkran is the tradition of water pouring, which symbolizes the washing away of bad luck and sins, and the beginning of a new year. During the festival, people pour water on each other as a form of blessing, and to express gratitude and respect to elders and ancestors.
Apart from water pouring, another important aspect of Songkran is the building of sand pagodas. They’re often decorated with flowers and candles. These pagodas symbolize the Buddhist belief in impermanence and the transient nature of life.
Songkran is also a time for family reunions and for paying respects to ancestors. Many Thai people return to their hometowns during this time to celebrate with their families and participate in traditional ceremonies.
In addition, Songkran is a time for cultural performances, including traditional dances and music. The festival is also an opportunity for people to dress in traditional Thai clothing and showcase their cultural heritage.
SONGKRAN TRADITIONS- PEACE AND LOVE, AND LUCK FOR THAI NEW YEAR
Local artisans will be selling vintage clothing, vinyls and artwork. PAI Kitchen will of course be handling the food. Favourites to flock to include Khao Mun Gai, Khao Kha Moo and Yum Kanom Jin. These traditional Thai dishes are known for their symbolism and are said to bring good fortune.
There will also be live Muay Thai demonstrations and traditional Thai massage pop-ups. Guests will also be invited to pour water over a Buddha statue to symbolise good luck for the new year.
Also part of the rituals of Songkran is elders giving youth new items to use for the new year, like clothes, books or shoes. Nuit and Jeff are donating all net proceeds from the food sales to sponsor ten Thai youths with the opportunity to attend school in Northern Thailand.
The Songkran Market runs at PAI Downtown on Saturday, April 15th from 11 am-3 pm.
Photos of Chef Nuit Regular by Libby Roach.