Unity in Diversity—the 15th Thai Songkran Festival Opens at SWU

To furtherenhance cultural exchanges between China and Thailandand advance the fusion of global cultural interactions, the 15th Thai Songkran Festival at Southwest University kicked off on April 27th at 1 p.m., at the Ziyun Cultural Square on campus. The event, hosted by Southwest University and organized by the International College, receivedenthusiasticsupport from the Royal Thai Consulate General in Chengdu.OurVice President Zhou Guangming and Mr. Sak Nothaisong, Consul-General of Thailand in Chengdu, graced the occasion with their presence. Leaders from the Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, Municipal Exit-Entry Administration, District Cultural and Tourism Commission, as well as functional departments such as the Publicity Department, Student Affairs Office, Youth League Committee, Office of International Affairs, and International College of the university, attended the event. More than 600 students from universities in Sichuan and Chongqing, both Chinese and international, participated in the festivities.Shi Xiaoxuan, a Chinese studentmajoring inMaster of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages, along with international students Jiang Feng from Rwanda and Zhang Zhengmei from Thailand, served as the hosts.

OurVice President Zhou Guangming delivered the welcome address, highlighting that the beautiful Aprilisthe best season in Chongqing, and Thailand is the largest source of international students at Southwest University. He also explained that “Songkran” is the transliteration of Sanskrit, meaning to transcend or move forward. Encountering such vibrant activities that inherit civilization during such festival is also a significant step for our university in witnessing the progress of cultural exchanges between China and Thailand.

Consul-General Sak Nothaisong delivered the opening speech, expressing that hosting the Songkran Festival at Southwest University is not only a continuation of Thai tradition but also a creative protection and innovative expression of Thai traditional culture. It is also an excellent opportunity for Thai students to demonstrate their sense of responsibility in loving tradition and inheriting culture. He sincerely thanked Southwest University for providing this valuable platform for cultural exchanges between China and Thailand.

The eventbegunwith a bathing Buddha ceremony and watersprinklingritual. Guests moved to the front of the Buddha statue to wash it with fragrantcleanwater, while Thai student representatives sprinkled water on the palms of attending leaders for blessings, symbolizing theirrespect and best wishes.

Thai Delicacy Market: Celebrating 49Yearsof Sino-Thai Friendship

With the implementation of the visa-free policy between China and Thailand, the millennia-old friendship between the two countriescontinues to thrive. People from both countries can now conveniently visit each other’s lands, experiencing local customs and the modern developments of each region. Today, at the International College’s Thai Delicacy Market, students can also enjoy a “visa-free entry”. The market offers a feast for the taste buds, including pandan coconut toast rich in flavor, Thai noodles, colorful juices, coconut pomegranateice drinks, green curry chicken and a variety of tantalizing Thai delicacies. Additionally, there are interesting ring throwing and bean bag tossing games, along with Thai costumes, kitchenware, and other gifts, leading all guestsexperiencing“Sawadee Journey”instantly.

Songkran: DiscoveringSino-Thai Fusion

As the highlight of the annual Songkran Festival, the Songkran Goddess Beauty Pageant washeldaspromised.It is said that there are seven Songkrangoddesses,symbolizingseven days of the week and seven lucky colors, reminiscent of China’s Seven Fairy Maidens, both embodying rich cultural connotations. The competition was divided into three rounds—catwalk, multilingualself-introductions, random topic elaboration, and bilingual questioning in Chinese and Thaitoassess the contestants’ comprehensive qualities. The early summer sunshine and the guests witnessed the birth of the Songkran goddesses, and it highlighted the charm and wisdom of our international students. The competition aimed to use beauty as a bond, closely connecting our university with the Thai people, while also spreading positive energy and inspiring more people to pursue beauty and dreams.

Local Cultures, Global Beauty

Students from various countries tookturns to present acharmingstage, celebrating the Songkran Festival together.

Exchange students from Khon Kaen University presented traditional Thai dances “Ji Xiang Fan” and “Tai Bu Ge”,symbolizing auspiciousness and joy, leading the entire audience to welcomethe new and bid farewell to the oldin Thai style.

Six exchange students from Thailand and Vietnam delivered a blend of tradition and innovation in their Muay Thai performance, featuring rapid rolls and high kicks, eliciting continuous laughter and applause, captivating the audience.

Exchange students fromPanyapiwat Institute of Managementdelivered a song and dance performanceHandkerchief.Theplayful and light-hearted stylebrought a refreshing breeze of summer to the audience. In Thailand, summer never ends, and the smiles of the audience continue throughout the performance.

The T-POP dance performance immersed the audience in modern Thai girl group culture, showcasing stylish and confident stage presence, proving the beauty of Thailand’s blend of ancient and contemporary cultural heritage.

Nine foreign exchange students and one Chinese student presented a Thai traditional fashion show, wearing traditional Thai attire on stage toshowthe fusion and inheritance of various cultures.

Students from six countries performed the song and danceKID MAKin six languages, with the theatrical performance bridging linguistic and geographical gaps, allowing the audience to grasp the deeper meaning beyond thesong.

Water in,Blessings in

After the singing and dancing, finallycamethe highlight of“water splashing”. The custom of splashing water was once popular during the Tang Dynasty, known as “Po Han Hu Opera”, used to pray for favorable weather in the coming year. Nowadays, the Dai people in China celebrate the Water Splashing Festival as their New Year. Today, at the International College, people from various countries and ethnic groups use water as a medium to blend their cultures,symbolizinga blend of civilizations where “you” and “I” converge, paving the way for the present and future of mutual understanding. Whether it is devout worship of Buddha or revelry in water, it is people welcominganew year in their happiest way.

After the event,Chinesestudents Mei Chunyan and Ji Yuzhu expressed their gratitude to the International College for the opportunity to participate. They deeply experienced themeaningof “culturewithoutboundaries” during this event. Even though everyone comes from different countries and colleges, they can still gather here to meet, understand, and connect, experiencing the fusion of different culturesinSouthwest University.

Mei Enfrom Thailand andRuanshi Xiaoyinfrom Vietnam also shared similar sentiments, believing that the event profoundly showcased the unique charm and rich cultural heritage of Thailand’s Songkran Festival, with its spirit of gratitude, respect, and blessings. Despite being in China, they still felt at home, expressing heartfelt gratitude for the college’s educational philosophy and humanistic care.


Continuously advancing to new heights and vigorously composing new chapters.General Secretary Xi Jinping recently chaired a significant Symposium on Advancing Western Region Development in the New Era in Chongqing, delivering an inspiring address to boost morale and provide strategic guidance.The International College will bear in mind the instructions of the General Secretary, seize the opportunity of the “Songkran Festival”, showcase the cultural genes and innovative spirit embodied in the “Study in the Southwest University” brand, and look forward to injecting diverse energy into the cultural exchanges and interactions between China and Thailand. It will actively explore innovative forms of education for international students on the national conditions under the perspective of “three-wideeducation”, and contribute its own strength to cultural exchanges and friendship between China and Thailand, and even countries around the world, through various enriching campus activities.

Contributor Hu Jingjing

Illustrated by Hu Hao, Thai International Students Association

Copyedited by Chen Yuxin

Executive Editors Geng Jun, Yang Kun

Reviewed by Liu Meng

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