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The Ministry of Culture is due to launch a campaign to encourage Songkran revelers to honor the traditional roots of the festival rather than focus on less cultural aspects as has been the case in recent years.
In a statement released by the ministry concerns were raised by cultural preservation groups that violent water fights, provocative clothing, drink driving and other irresponsible behavior not only misrepresents the true meaning of the festival but also brings harm to those engaging in such activities.
In order to re-educate those who celebrate Songran the ministry will launch a “white songkran” campaign and will provide leaflets and guidelines to raise awareness of the issue. The ministry have asked those participating in the festivities to don appropriate attire, clean their houses and temples and to make merit. Drink driving should be avoided as should throwing water at motorists, and the use of ice cubes and powder as a means of groping other individuals.
In areas where many tourists attend the festivities teams of police officers will be deployed to hand out information on the cultural elements of the celebration.
Every year, road safety has been one of the main concerns for the police and government agencies. Thailand’s highway death toll over the seven days of Songkran, 11 to 17 April 2013, reached 321 surpassing the 2012’s toll by 0.31%, or just by a single death. Measures are being mapped out to ease traffic congestion and prevent road accidents during the coming festival.