Thursday, June 30 2022

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (WCCO) — The Songkran festival took over the Minnesota state capital this weekend.

In Thailand, the Songkran festival is held in the heat of April during the Thai New Year.

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“Songkran comes from a Thai word… which means ‘water festival’,” said Theerapattaipom Phuangmala, a monk at Wat Promwachirayan Buddhist temple. “[It’s the] way we show gratitude, because Songkran is the meaning of pouring water to pay respect to your family.

But because of the capricious April weather, the Thai Cultural Council of Minnesota held the event in late May. Korawan Muangmode is chairman of the board.

“[It’s] Asian American Heritage Month too, so I think it’s a great time to do it every year,” Muangmode said.

New this year is the location. The state capital at St. Paul replaced a Buddhist temple in St. Louis Park to accommodate thousands of attendees. The festival also distributed free COVID-19 vaccines.

(credit: CBS)

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“It’s been very difficult and very tough for everyone during COVID and with the riots and everything,” Muangmode said. “So this year is when I think celebrating in the Minnesota state capitol is here to get so many people to do this together.”

Minnesota has about 6,000 Thai-Americans. This weekend’s large rally replicated those in Southeast Asia.

“The most important thing for me is the street food here, where you can see how they cook it and taste authentic Thai food, and you can go shopping.
You don’t have to go all the way to Thailand,” Muangmode said.

A cultural exhibit that captured the traditional sounds, tastes and even blessings of Thailand.

“I want this year to be expressed as an Asian joy, a celebration,” she said.

NO MORE NEWS: Next weather alert: Tornado watch issued in southwest Minn.

The festival capped off its slate of performances on Sunday night with popular Thai pop group 4Mix, who made their US debut.

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