didnt even know this was going down till i got stuck in traffic. I'm heading there right now to check it out. So, sorry I couldn't have posted this early. But its good to support ethnic hoods.
Sunday, April 3 -- Grand Festival Marks Thai New Year in Los Angeles, Home to Biggest Thai Celebration in U.S.
All-Day Thai Festival along Hollywood Blvd. to Feature Dignitaries' Water Blessing Ceremony, "Taste of Thai Culture" Food Faire with More Than 50 Booths of L.A.'s Best Thai Food, More
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 24, 2005-- The United States' largest celebration of the 2005 Thai Lunar New Year will take place on Sunday, April 3, in Los Angeles, along Hollywood Boulevard in the city's popular Thai Town neighborhood. Also known as the Songkran Festival, the Thai New Year street faire is expected to draw more than 40,000, as L.A. is home to the largest Thai population outside of Thailand. More than 30,000 attended last year's festival, the first concerted effort by Thai organizations on the West Coast to host an official U.S. Songkran celebration. Among the most popular features of the festival are performances by Thai cultural dancers and musicians, a massive 200-lb. display of "the world's largest serving of pad thai noodles" in a giant six-foot wok, and the delectable "Taste of Thai Culture" food faire with more than 50 food booths selling savory and authentic dishes representing all four regions of Thailand. Admission at the all-day cultural festival is FREE, with booths offering Thai food, beverages and souvenirs for purchase.
"Songkran is the most sacred holiday for our community and symbolizes hope and renewal for all cultures," said Prakas Yenbamroong, one of the volunteer leaders and festival coordinators. "In the past 30 years, the Thai community has grown and benefited from life here and, in turn, wants to share its traditions and culture with America. Thai culture and food has been largely embraced by Angelenos, and we look forward to celebrating this holiday with them."
"Songkran" symbolizes the start of the lunar New Year or movement of the sun and is celebrated by Thai populations around the world as a day of spiritual renewal and gratitude, honoring family, respected elders and community leaders. Traditionally, younger generations pour scented water over the palms of Buddhist monks and elders, asking for their blessings. Ancient Thai tradition presumes that at this special time, water can wash away bad luck for the upcoming year. It is also believed that this act of gratitude helps bring spiritual renewal, happiness and prosperity to the practitioners.
A welcome address and traditional Thai Water Blessing Ceremony at 11 a.m. will mark the grand opening of the festival, where the Thai community publicly will bless local dignitaries and community leaders. During this sacred ceremony, water will be poured over the hands of leaders in a symbolic gesture of good wishes, renewal and blessings for the New Year, as prayers and offerings are made by Buddhist monks, elders and religious participants. The public is also encouraged to bring their children to honor family elders in the Water Blessing Ceremony and to receive blessings from spiritual leaders.
"A central goal of the festival is to continue Thai traditions for future generations," said Rosalyn Patamakanthin, festival volunteer and former president of the Thai Association of Southern California. "More than just a day of family, food and fun, this is a festival with heart, and the Songkran New Year truly celebrates every culture's values of respect, gratitude and community."
The Thai New Year Day officially lasts from April 13-15. For the festival in Los Angeles, on Sunday, April 3, Hollywood Boulevard will remain closed between Western Avenue and Kingsley Drive. Attractions throughout the day also include a cultural parade, Thai boxing and sword fight sporting exhibitions, fruit and ice carving demonstrations, children's activities, Thai costume contests, tsunami aid information and collection booths, and much more.
In addition to nearby public parking lots, visitors may find parking along neighboring streets. A shuttle bus will transport festival attendees from the parking lot at Kaiser Permanente Hospital on Sunset Boulevard. Visitors also are encouraged to "Go Metro" to the Thai New Year Festival, by taking the Metro Red Line straight to the Hollywood/Western stop. Trip planning easily can be done online through Metro.net. Metrolink is one of the many community sponsors of this year's festival, produced under unified efforts of various Thai American business and civic associations with support from the Royal Thai Consulate General, the Thai Trade Mission and the Thai Tourism Authority offices in Los Angeles.