color by numbers

mindless musings of a semi-creative guy

Songkran – Part 1

Sorry for the slack in blogging the last couple of weeks. Boy has it been busy around here! Brook and I have each had language exams and moved on to our new modules, we’ve celebrated the Easter season, and now we’re in the midst of the biggest Thai holiday there is – the biggest, country-wide, world-renowned water fight known as Songkran!

sara with kids SK

Songkran falls on April 13-15 of every year, and it is quite the celebration. There are numerous traditions and rituals – both religious and entertaining – that make up this festival, and I’m going to try and cover as much as I can over the course of these next few days with you here on the blog. Are you ready? Let’s go!

To start off, Songkran is to Thais what Christmas is to most families back in America (and much of the Western world). It’s the time of year where bosses give their employees a few extra days off to go back home and visit with all of their relatives. Everyone gets excited, everybody plans ahead, and every person seems to have that extra bit of cheer to spread around.  Songkran is also considered to be the traditional start of the new year for Thais, according to their ancient calendar.

Though Songkran is best known nowadays by its wide spread war of water, it is traditionally a time when Thais pay respect to their elders, whether it be parents, friends, or older neighbors.  This respect is often shown through a ceremony of pouring scented water over the elder’s shoulder or hands and offering thanks to the one being honored.  The elder may then offer a blessing in return to the younger Thai.  In addition to cleansing one another’s hands, families will also use this time to publicly bathe their idols and other images of Buddha.  Some people will even use these days off from work to completely empty their home and give it a thorough washing.  We saw several of our own neighbors doing this over the past few days.  The New Year offers a fresh start, and most people will do everything they can to start it off right.

As I said before, this is only one part of the Songkran celebration.  Over the next few days, I’ll fill you in on more.  But, for now, I have to get back out and play in the water!  Happy Songkran!

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April 13, 2010 - Posted by | Just for Fun, Thailand

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