LAYTON - Dancers of all ages performed the delicate moves of a traditional dance of Thailand at Saturday’s Songkran Festival in Layton. The annual event celebrates the start of their new year, which takes place between April 13 and 15. Dance, music, food, costumes and a beauty pageant were all part of the festivities held at the Wat Dhammagunaram Buddhist Temple.
In a Songkran tradition from northern Thailand, handfulls of sand are brought to the monastery and shaped into a stupa, or mound, and decorated. Tradition holds the sand is to make up the dirt that has been carried away on the soles of feet over the past year.
Part of the traditional festival is a beauty pageant. Four of the nine contestants in this year’s festival are (above, from left) Parada Ganrayanayoj, Rosita Charbsurian, Waiyapan “Tucky” Kantaphat and Minta Siripong. The United States, said Rosita, who has been here for two years, has been wonderful. “All people are friendly,” she said. “All are welcoming to foreigners.” Joe Jitpanu (left, in middle left photo) dishes up a banana dish.
Phra Sombat Mayer, one of four monks at the Layton temple, said the festival offers a chance to share Thai culture and introduce the foods and traditions of a different society to the local community. Classes in dance, music and Buddhism are also offered at the center. Other holiday traditions shared at the festival taught respect between the generations and offered blessings to the region.