Saturday, 16 April 2011

The origins of the Songkran festival in Thailand

Officially Songkran (or Songkhran as many like to spell it) is a festival in which has its mystical origins in the Indian "astrological passage", but is more readily recognized these days as the Thai New Year festival.

Thailand for your information is now in the year 2554 ... way ahead of the West, jing jing. So you can never accuse Thailand of being behind times.

It is celebrated from 13-15 April each year, a fixed date, regardless of what the moon and other astrological bodies are doing. It happens to mark the end of the dry season at the hottest time of the year.

As such, water is a big feature of Songkran. It is used to cleanse any religious icons around the house, village or city, and pouring scented water (mentholated talc powder is often added in) over these is said to bring luck in the new year. Traditionally this water was then considered 'blessed' so the Thais collected it in a bucket, and then splashed a couple of dabs on the shoulder of people they respected to bring them luck ...

That was Songkran. Traditionally.  

My how things have changed. Read my next blog to enjoy the crazy reality of Songkran today ...

Question: Did you know that Thailand was in the year 2554 already? Anyone got a simple explanation for our readers?

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