Two more popular Songkarn parties have been called off as the coronavirus epidemic continues to spoil the Thai New Year celebration for locals and tourists alike.
Chiang Mai Municipality on Wednesday announced the cancellation of all major activities for the Thai New Year in the northern city. The southern tourist city of Hat Yai has already called off festivities.
Songkran activities in Chiang Mai normally start from early April with small religious ceremonies with the highlights this year from April 13-15, when people go to temples for merit-making ceremonies and splash water in the city centre.
Chiang Mai mayor Thassanai Buranupakorn said on Wednesday all festival events involving large gatherings of people were being put on hold this year. They included water splashing, parades and ceremonies to worship buddha images.
One of the most famous events during Songkran in Chiang Mai is when people worship the Phra Buddha Sihing image, the statue most respected by local residents.
However, the city will still be adorned to celebrate the Thai New Year and exhibitions will promote Lanna culture, he said. "Chiang Mai Municipality thanks every agency helping to contain the spread of Covid-19 so that our Chiang Mai remains a safe tourist destination," he said. (continues below)
The Hat Yai Municipality on Tuesday cancelled its midnight Songkran party, planned for April 12-13, to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The party in Hat Yai draws tourists from Malaysia every year.