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Monday, April 14, 2008

April 12, 2008-Songkran Festival

Songkran, the Thai New Year, is celebrated every year on 13 April to 15 April in Thailand as well as Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, by the Dai people in Yunnan, China, Sri Lanka and widely throughout the Indian subcontinent.

The date of the festival was originally set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed.

Songkran falls in the hottest time of the year in Thailand, at the end of the dry season.

The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water. People roam the streets with containers of water or water guns, or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and drench each other and passersby. This, however, was not always the main activity of this festival. Songkran was traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends and neighbors.

Besides the throwing of water, people celebrating Songkran may also go to a wat (Buddhist monastery) to pray and give food to monks. They may also cleanse Buddha images from household shrines as well as Buddha images at monasteries by gently pouring water mixed with a Thai fragrance over them. In many cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha images from all of the city's important monasteries are paraded through the streets so that people can toss water at them, ritually 'bathing' the images, as they pass by on ornately decorated floats. For more information you can search on Google or click here to read more about Songkran

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket

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