SONGKRAN FESTIVAL
An elephant splashes water through its trunk on a group of revellers riding on a pick-up truck during the Songkran festival in Ayutthaya province, April 13, 1998

    Songkran, is the ''Thai New Year''. Calculated by the lunar cycle, this year's date fell on April 13. Shortly after dawn, devout Buddhists gather at the neighborhood temples to offer food for the monks and prayers for the New Year. By mid-morning, though, the town degenerrates into a battlefield as the good people of Songkhla abandon themselves to a mad free-for-all orgy of throwing, squirting splashing, heaving, hurling and dumping water on each other. Around streetcorner washtubs lurk little children, armed with water dippers, who gleefully ambush anyone foolhardy enough to venture past. Teenagers on motorcycles weave wildly through traffic, ready to pounce in hit-and-run squirtgun raids. Pickup trucks packed with nubile schoolgirls, fetchingly drenched, prowl about the streets in search of victims for a watery mugging.

This Water-Throwing Festival" dates back past a milennium, to whem the Thai had yet to arrive in Thailand. In their ances tral homeland, Yunnan Provice of China, Songkran is still celebrated by their ethnic cousins, the Tai. Other branches of the same family -- the Loas, the Shan of Burma, the Thai Dam of Vietnam -- have spread the festival over much of Southeast Asia. Besides being Sanuk, or lust plain fun, the purpose behind all this sloshing of water in to wash away the past year's sins. And the expected reaction to a cold drenching is a grateful smile. (1)
The celebrations on Songkran Day in the Northern part of Thailand are separated into 3 days. The first day is on the 13th of April, called "Sang Karn Long Day" which means the passing day of the old year. On this day people will clean their home, their bodies and dress in new suits. The next day is on the 14th of April, called "Nao Day" or "Da Day" which means the preparation of various auspicious ceremonies. Food and basic necessities will be provided on this day to give to monks and relatives. The third day is on the 15th of April, called "Phrya Wan Day" which means the great important day of New Year. On this day people will liberate birds and fish, bath Buddha image and monks as well as respectful senior family members.
In addition, lots of traditional Thai plays are also being performed during Songkran festival such as riding banana leaf's midrib, children playing the jacks stone, Lao Kra Top Mai enjoyed by teenagers, playing Thai chess, and cock fighting enjoy by old age people. The other element that we cannot miss during this festival is bathing each other politely along with blessing words. All events of Songkran festival will be presented to you in the form of miniature Thai dools made of clay in various manners and distinctive costumes that show the beautiful Thai traditions.


Traditional Thai during the Songkran festival will do merit to brings sand to Wat for make Sand-Chedi
The word Songkran is from Sanskrit language which means passing or approaching. It signiflies the time when the sun is moving from one sign of zodiac to another. And when it moves from the twelfth sign of Zodiac Pisces to the first sign of Zodiac Aries, we specially call it "Maha Songkran". The 13th April is called "Songkran Day", 14th April "Nao Day" or the day on which the sun travels between Pisces and Aries marking the old Thai New Year's Eve and 15th April "Thai New Year's Day".

the bathing rite for Buddha images and monks at Chiang Mai lasts


Thai peoples bath Buddha image


Wat Khung Taphao Ban Khung Taphao, Khung Taphao subdistrict, Mueang Uttaradit, Uttaradit Province, Thailand


Songkran festival will do merit to brings sand to Wat for make Sand-Chedi


People in a tuk tuk getting soaked during Songkran in Chiang Mai

Songkran festival is then the festival to celebrate Thai New Year's day. We will do good things such as offering food to th monks, pouring scented water over Buddha image, building sand pagodas, releasing caged birds and fish, paying respect to the elder and asking for their blessing and splashing water to other people. This is the way we express happiness and joyfulness. There are also games and other fun activities we do on these days.

The writer baths Buddha image at Wat Chetuphon, April 14, 1999


Thai peoples bath Buddha image at Wat Chetuphon or Wat Pho, April 14, 1999

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