Songkran in Thailand, traditional Thai New Year festival

Songkran in Thailand, traditional Thai New Year festival

วันที่นำเข้าข้อมูล 3 Apr 2024

วันที่ปรับปรุงข้อมูล 3 Apr 2024

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Every year around the middle of April, Thai people, of any age, gender and walk of life come together for ceremonies and merit-making activities throughout the holidays with gratitude for their ancestors and Buddhist devotion in mind. Reckoning this as the beginning of the new year, Thais engage themselves in celebrations in highspirits for good luck.

Songkran is calculated in accordance with the solar calendar based on ancient astrological knowledge. It marks the exact moment when the Sun transits into the zodiac sign of Aries to signal a new astrological year. Thai oral history includes the origin of Songkran and Lady Songkran. These folktales are accounts of the importance of appreciation and gratitude towards parents and ancestors. Celebratory activities vary from the community to community with different local gimmicks and practices. They typically last between 3-5 days and take place at home, at the temple and at the communal places in the area. Water splashing during the Songkran is a lighthearted gesture of the sacred cleansing custom, bringing freshness,
happiness and bliss.

[Professor Dr. Prakong Nimmanahaeminda – Member of the Royal Society of Thailand: Water symbolizes purity-pure minds and kind hearts. Pouring water onto each other is a lighthearted gesture of well wishing. April is the hottest month of the year. Water pouring brings freshness, warmest regards, happiness and bliss. What important is alms giving, preparing food together to either bring it to the temple or to give it to the monks in the morning alms. It is a good opportunity for people to pay respect to their elderly relatives. In the past, family members would prepare food at home. Home-cooked food would be shared with neighbors as an act of kindness. Thisis the beautiful side of Songkran.]

The sprinkling of water also means warding off all negative things and is traditionally done on the first day of celebration. People clean and redecorate their houses and work equipment, their Buddha shrines and their ancestor’s mausoleums. In some parts of Thailand, bathing involves the use of water to cleanse the
body and the hair in a ceremonial manner, followed by Buddhist monks’ prayers to ward off and dissolve negative things and wash off misfortunes. They join in to clean common areas and decorate them using traditional local crafts and ornaments. Central to the Songkran is the visit to the temple to give alms to monks and listen to sermons given on the teachings of the Lord Buddha. People who have special culinary skills may gather to cook their local specialties for the monks and the neighborhoods. Ceremonies and merit-making activities at the temple are thought to bring good luck to everyone throughout the year. For merit giving, most families may bring the ashes of these ancestors contained in miniature stupas for cleansing at the temple.

[Students at Wat Songtham School: Growing up, we have been being taught the right practice of Songkran. During Songkran, I ask for blessings from the elders]
The water activities at home are believed to be an expression of asking for forgiveness and blessings as well as of gratitude that the young ones have towards the wise elderly. They use scented water and small floral garlands andoffer them new fabric. Friends and family members thentake turns extending good wishes and pouring water onto each other’s palms. After that, the much-anticipated water fights break out
amid cheers and laughter. There are colorful folk plays and cultural performances to enjoy, with processions of Songkran carriages and Lady Songkran that paradearound the village. The day is filled with exuberant celebration of enjoyment and fun, all done in good spirit, without offense and resentment.

[Mr. Chatchawan Thongdeelert – President of Lanna Wisdom Foundation: Songkran is a valuable tradition. Firstly, it is the time to look back to see what we have done in the past year and to realize that we are getting one year older. You need to reflect on the good deeds and deeds that are not so good that you’ve done. Cleanse ourselves of negative energies and welcome all good vibes to life. And start the new
year with happiness, liveliness, purity, freshness and auspiciousness. Secondly, it is the time of the year to spend with our family and loved ones. It is an opportunity to ask forgiveness for what we have done wrong to them and ask for their blessing. Not very often that you can ask for forgiveness like this. It is a rare opportunity. Parents and elder relatives will forgive their loved ones. It is to restore the beauty of Thai family values and kinship. At the community level, this brings communal efforts in organizing the ceremonial activities. Together we can ward off negative things and welcome good virtues as a community.]

Songkran is fundamental to Buddhist Thais in that during this period, everyone ceases work and returns home to participate in the celebration. They spend time and visit temples for prayer and give offerings with their loved ones. The water blessing and paying homage to the elderly are key activities at home. All elements during Songkran reflect the Thai values of gratitude, respect, generosity, kindness, publicmindedness and harmony, where these attributes, thus, lead to a sustainable society.
Songkran has been a longstanding national holiday of Thailand. The Thai Royal Government promotes an emphasis on the Traditions to be included in the national curriculum. All public and private sectors are encouraged to take part with local communities to carry out the traditional Thai New Year practices and make Songkran a proud and lasting legacy for the future generations in the many years to come.


Songkran in Thailand, traditional Thai New Year festival