|Joey and I recently landed in Bangkok in the middle of the annual Songkran three-day celebration of the Thai New Year's Day. It is April 13 every year though one day is not sufficient to accommodate all of the water festivities. The word "Songkran" comes from a Sanskrit word which literally means "astrological passage." As mid-April is the mid-point of the hot summer season in Thailand, water splashing is a welcome relief from the extreme heat and represents a harbinger of what is hoped will be a successful forthcoming rainy season which is always needed in this agrarian economy.
If you want to stay high and dry during Songkran you would be advised to stay indoors as there is a major water sport involved in the celebration as shown below. Otherwise, there is a serious spiritual side.
Most Thai people go back to their hometowns to meet their elders.
Many Thai's cover their faces in white chalk which originated with the chalk used by monks to mark blessings though the coverage suffers from frequent water splashes.
The Bangkok Post published a series of images set in different parts of Thailand to illustrate the varied celebrations across the country. People are shown below bathing a Buddha image at Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat in Phitsansulok province located in northern Thailand.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration holds a procession to carry a revered image of Phra Buddha Sihing from the Bangkok National Museum.
Young ladies bathe a revered image of Phra Buddha Sihing at Sant Chai Prakan public park in Bangkok.
Tourists join in the festivities by using water guns to splash water in the Hat Yai district of Songkhla in southern Thailand.
A Thai couple on Bangkok's Khao San Road take pre-wedding photos.
People build a pagoda with sand and water in Nakhon Ratchasima province in northeastern Thailand symbolically restoring the sand to temples that visitors carried away stuck to their shoes.
Lastly, even the elephants get into the act in Ayutthaya province in central Thailand.
A couple of years ago, Joey and I were in Bangkok over Songkran. We chose to sit on the river and enjoy seeing water rather than wearing it. The only significance of the pink streamers is that we have paid our cover charge at the Viv Aviv Songkran party.
Therefore, people all over Thailand join in the celebration that most assuredly involves water splashing. It could be frivolity, spiritual in nature or respectful to one's elders. In the simplest of Thai terms, Songkran means "sanuk" which is the Thai word for fun. That word coupled with "sabaay" meaning comfortable define the Thai people. Everything is comfortable and easy while the Thais are always up for fun and a good time which makes them some of the most enjoyable people in the world. Perhaps that explains why some of us are unable to ever truly leave.
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