In a significant move aimed at showcasing Thailand’s rich cultural heritage on the international stage, the government has officially announced its plans to register the country’s traditional sarong, known as the pha khao ma, as an intangible cultural heritage with UNESCO.
According to the government spokesperson, Anucha Burapachaisri, this initiative comes as outgoing Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha envisions the pha khao ma to become a powerful instrument in promoting Thai soft power worldwide. The prime minister’s aspirations gained significant momentum following the global attention garnered by Thai dance performances featuring the exquisite traditional attire on May 6 during World Dance Day 2023.
During the remarkable showcase, two captivating performances captivated the audience. The first performance ingeniously portrayed the daily lives of Thai villagers, intricately intertwined with the pha khao ma, thereby highlighting its integral role in Thai culture. The second performance, on the other hand, mesmerized onlookers with dancers elegantly donning traditional clothing representing all regions of the kingdom.
The resounding success of the shows was palpable, evidenced by the thunderous applause that filled the venue. Enthralled foreign attendees were eager to capture the essence of the cultural phenomenon, requesting the dancers to pose alongside them for photographs.
It is worth noting that the decision to pursue UNESCO recognition for the pha khao ma was deliberated by the Cabinet back in February. This esteemed acknowledgement would bestow the sarong with the esteemed status of intangible cultural heritage, recognizing its immeasurable significance in Thai society.
Anucha further emphasized that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha envisions a collective effort among all government agencies to elevate the prominence of the pha khao ma. This ambitious undertaking aligns with the government’s ongoing endeavors to promote and showcase the multifaceted facets of Thai culture to the world.
The registration of the pha khao ma as an intangible cultural heritage with UNESCO is poised to create a transformative impact. With this prestigious recognition, Thailand’s treasured sarong is set to take center stage on the global platform, imparting a deeper understanding and appreciation for Thai cultural traditions and establishing a lasting legacy for generations to come.