Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Modern Songkran Festival: A Diversion from Thai Spiritual Tradition

 
Today is the first day of the Songkran Festival, the traditional Thai New Year. It is celebrated from April 13 through 15 but some areas such as Phra Pradaeng close to our place extends it for two weeks. Traditionally, it is a spiritual event paying respect to the elders by pouring water over their shoulder and saying their wish for them. In return, the elders bless the young ones by doing the same. Water-pouring symbolizes cleansing and renewal in welcoming the new year, which is still practiced in the provinces. But now in the modern times especially in Bangkok, it has become just sort of a water war or a fun game among the young generations such as shown in these photos.

This girl using a garden hose waits for her preys.

And here are the kids throwing water to each other and to the passersby.
Kids using water guns don't realize that this event wasn't really meant for just having fun as originally conceived. But they're just following the locals who celebrate it this way. For them, it's simply one great way to beat the summer heat.
Could you imagine a pick-up loaded with large water tumblers for the water splashing war?
Here's what my kids enjoyed most. The water they use is cold because ice companies supply blocks of ice for free during this season. April is the hottest month of the year here reaching up to 42 degrees so the cold water splashed on the Songkraners is such a treat. Putting on mentholized powder is also another way to cool down the Songkraners. Here's a video.

More watery posts here and with reds here.


12 comments:

Auntie E said...

Isn't it sad to see traditions change over the years. I guess with each generation a new thought arises. Perhaps this new generation can bring back the true meaning. I like it. but water wars are good for Hot weather.
Happy RT
My Ruby Link for you

RoseBelle said...

I've heard about this from my Thai friends. Actually some Thai do it here too. One year, I saw a bunch of kids with their water guns in front of their apartment building squirting water at each other. It was funny to watch. It's good that people still keep up with their tradition.

January said...

parang celebration ng Feast of San Juan dito sa atin. thanks for the visit.

I'll add this blog too sissy...

January said...

followed you na rin.. added you in my 2 blogs..

Tinago Falls
Macro Photography

Vernz said...

Nice, akalain mu palang sa Thailand ito akala ko sa Tambler lang ... hahahah! I think this is equivalent to RC's San Juan...

nice A said...

@Auntie E and RoseBelle, yes, traditions change in time but at least some are still kept in the provinces and by the conservatives. We witnessed the traditional celebration the other summer in Easternmost Thailand. We really appreciated how meaningful the old ritual was.

nice A said...

@Jan and Vernz, it's similar to San Juan in Pinas way back then. But it's no longer observed these days, is it? Songkran is one of the tourist attractions in Thailand.

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nice A said...

@faye, never tried doing reviews yet but I may try. Thanks for your encouragement.

CafebyJW said...

I want to do like that myself, feel like being kid again.

You Got A Posty

Dhemz said...

wow! ang saya-saya...pede maki join? hehehe....this is absolutely a fun idea...pero kung gagawin to sa pinas...parang d makaya...ala masyado tubig...nagtitipid ng tubig mga tao sa atin...ehehhe!

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