Thursday, April 15, 2010

Songkran – The unique Thai Water Festival

You will be lucky if you happen to be in Thailand on April 13 to April 15. This is because from April 13 the Thai’s will celebrate this very unique festival called Songkran or Water Festival and I’m very lucky to be here in Hatyai at the right time. Just be careful of your hand phone or camera as the “war of water” is taking place everywhere.

According to my Thai friend, Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year water festival which starts on April 13 every year. The festival lasts for 4 days. Maha Songkran Day is the first day of the celebrations which marks the end of the old year. April 14, Wan Nao is the day between the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new year when foods are prepared for the temples. The third day of Songkran, April 15, is Wan Thaloeng Sok - the day on which the New Year begins and on the last day, Wan Parg-bpee, the ancestors and elders are honored.
Songkran is a Thai word which means "move" or "change place" as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is also known as the "Water Festival" as people believe that water will wash away bad luck.

The Songkran tradition is recognized as a valuable custom for the Thai community, society and religions. The value for family is to provide the opportunity for family members to gather in order to express their respects to the elders by pouring scented water onto the hands of their parents and grandparents and to present them gifts including making merits to dedicate the result to their ancestors. The elders in return wish the youngsters good luck and prosperity.

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