Thousands of Thai people gathered at the Taoyuan Stadium today to celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year. The festival is also known as the Water Festival and often includes riotous water fights. It was a beautiful sunny day for the event in Taoyuan, although the water throwing was rather tame in comparison to what goes on in Thailand.
The event began with the monks chanting blessings before accepting alms. Here the people are lined up ready to offer food to the monks.
Later there was more chanting by the monks on the stage.
There was a parade of Buddha statues led by the Golden Buddha from Ling Jiou Mountain (靈鷲山).
The parade also included some beautiful Thai ladies in traditional dress.
Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) addressed the crowd. He mentioned that there were more than 20,000 Thai workers in Taoyuan County. There are a total of 75,000 Thai workers in Taiwan, mostly men working in the construction industry.
After his speech Chu Li-lun was given the official honor of turning a fire hose on the crowd. You can see some people here enjoying the shower.
When all the speeches were over there was some Thai dancing to keep the crowd entertained.
Blue Sky band, with MJ Klein on guitar, came out to play their second set. Their first set in the morning was abruptly cut short.
There was a huge crowd and they went wild as Blue Sky rocked the Taoyuan Stadium.
A few people in the crowd were wearing red shirts. I don’t know if it was a political statement or not. They were certainly having a good time.
After Blue Sky finished their set there was a change in style as a group representing ethnic minorities from Yunnan Province, China Burma did some dancing.
It was a fantastic and entertaining day and great to experience a little bit of Thai life right here in Taiwan.
*More photos in the Thai New Year in Taoyuan set at flickr (to be uploaded over the next couple of days).