Friday, 13 April 2012

Happy Songkran's Day

Songkran is a Thai traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3-5 days. Besides the throwing of water, people celebrating Songkran as a Buddha festival may also go to a temple (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 (น้ำอบไทย) over them. It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. 
At this time, people from the rural areas who are working in the city usually go back to their hometown to celebrate the festival and spend their time with family. The family members stay together in order to show their respects to the elders by pouring water which mixed of scent flowers onto the hands of their parents and grandparents and also go to make merits to dedicate the result to their ancestors. The elders will give the youngsters blessing.

Songkran is also known as the “Water Festival” as people believe that water will wash away bad luck, also make you feel colder in the hottest weather of the year. As a Buddhist, Thais value the religion by going to make merits, offerings alms to monks, Dhamma Practice, listening to sermon and monks-bathing. In the afternoon, Thais go bathing Buddha images, and after that both young and old people will enjoy splashing water on each other.

In many cities, 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. In northern Thailand, people may carry handfuls of sand to their neighborhood monastery in order to recompense the dirt that they have carried away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then sculpted into stupa-shaped piles and decorated with colorful flags.

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