Photo caption: Council Member Daniel Dromm (right) joins Elmhurst residents in a
“Buddha Bathing” ritual at the first Thai New Year Street Festival in Elmhurst, Queens.
On Saturday, April 16th NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) and Elmhurst entrepreneur and resident Juttana “Moo” Rimreartwate hosted the first Thai New Year Street Festival on Woodside Avenue between 76th and 77th Streets in Elmhurst, Queens. Attendees enjoyed Muay Thai kick boxing demonstrations, yoga and pilates classes, music and dance performances and samplings of Thai cuisine. Special guests included Royal Thai Consul General Pornpong Kanittanon, NY State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens), NY State Assembly Member Ron Kim (D-Queens) and ESPN Anchor Prim Siripipat.
The New Year festival, called “Songkran,” is the most important holiday for the Thai community. Songkran takes place from April 13th – 15th each year but is typically celebrated throughout the week. The holiday is rich with symbolic traditions, and is a time for family re-unions and an annual house cleaning. Those observing Songkran also visit local temples and offer food to the Buddhist monks. The “Buddha Bathing” ritual during which an individual pours scented water over a Buddha statue is considered an iconic ritual for the holiday. This act represents purification and the washing away of negativity and bad luck.
“I am pleased to co-host the first Thai New Year street festival here in Elmhurst,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “From world-class cuisine to a rich performing arts tradition, our neighborhood’s Little Thailand has much to offer the rest of New York City. It was a joy to spend Saturday afternoon with community leaders and Elmhurst residents from every nation in a celebration of Thai heritage and culture.