Wa­ter-splash­ing scrapped for Songkran fes­ti­val amid drought

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The an­nual Songkran wa­ter fes­ti­val was held Sun­day as usual in New Taipei City but the or­ga­niz­ers de­cided to forego the cus­tom­ary wa­ter splash­ing ac­tiv­i­ties this year in fa­vor of a foot- wash­ing rit­ual, as Tai­wan re­mained in the grip of its worst drought in decades.

The cer­e­mo­nial part of the Asian fes­ti­val took the form a recital of Bud­dhist su­tras and a wash­ing of feet, while the en­ter­tain­ment as­pects in­cluded Thai and Myan­mar cul­tural per­for­mances.

The an­nual Songkran fes­ti­val is usu­ally hosted by New Taipei City, which has a new im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion of about 90,000, most of whom are from Southeast Asian coun­tries and now live in the city’s Nan­shi­jiao area.

In light of a per­sis­tent na­tion­wide drought, the city de­cided this year not to hold the cus­tom­ary large- scale wa­ter- splash­ing rit­u­als, which sig­nify good wishes among the par­tic­i­pants, said New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu.

He said cel­e­brat­ing the fes­ti­val by means of ask­ing Bud­dha to bless the peo­ple and help ease the drought is just as mean­ing­ful and helps to con­serve wa­ter.

New Taipei at­taches great im­por­tance to its new im­mi­grants and con­sid­ers them an as­set to Tai­wan, Chu said.

He said the chil­dren of new im­mi­grants, who are flu­ent in their mother tongues, may one day be able to serve as Tai­wan am­bas­sadors to pro­mote eco­nomic, trade and cul­tural links with Southeast Asian coun­tries.

The fes­ti­val in­cludes a photography com­pe­ti­tion, a film screen­ing and a book fair that is be­ing held at 435 Art Zone in Ban­qiao un­til Mon­day, ac­cord- ing to a city of­fi­cial.

At Sun­day’s cel­e­bra­tions, some 1,000 bowls of sticky rice ball dumplings and 3,000 gourmet food vouch­ers were handed out free of charge.

CNA

El­derly par­tic­i­pants of the Songkran wa­ter fes­ti­val get their feet washed in New Taipei City, yes­ter­day. Or­ga­niz­ers of the fes­ti­val de­cided to forego the cus­tom­ary wa­ter splash­ing ac­tiv­i­ties this year in fa­vor of a foot-wash­ing rit­ual, as Tai­wan re­mained in the grip of its worst drought in decades.

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