Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
9Trip End May 30, 2008
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Although the traditional calendar of Thailand like most of Southeast Asia utilizes a lunisolar calendar, the date of the new year was calculated on a purely solar basis. The term Songkran comes from Sanskrit "Sankranta" and means "a move or change" - in this case the move of the sun into the Aries zodiac. Originally this happened at the vernal equinox, but, as the Thai astrology did not observe precession, the date moved from March to April
Songkran is a Thai word which means "move" or "change place" as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is also known as the "Water Festival" as people believe that water will wash away bad luck
The most Known celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water
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. It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. 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 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.
Some people make New Year resolutions - to refrain from bad behavior, or to do good things
In our situation we have taken this time to "Clean our Homes" by releasing our extra weight that we have gathered in our backpacks and ourselves.
The throwing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, by gently pouring a small amount of lustral water on other people's hands or over a shoulder as a sign of respect. Among young people the holiday evolved to include dousing strangers with water to relieve the heat, since April is the hottest month in Thailand (temperatures can rise to over 100°F or 40°C on some days). This has further evolved into water fights and splashing water over people riding in vehicles.
The use of chalk (ดินสอพอง) is also very common having originated in the chalk used by monks to mark blessings.
Nowadays, the emphasis is on fun and water-throwing rather than on the festival's spiritual and religious aspects, which sometimes prompts complaints from traditionalists.
Our Experience of SongKran was delightful, as we escaped away to a hidden Reggae Guest house only 2 hours from Bangkok
It was a real community event with small children to the elderly in full participation! It was amazing to see the transformation of this once uninhabited beach become swarmed with hundreds/thousands of Thai people! Mind you the beaches never felt to crowded if one wanted to sneak away from the splashes, you could easiy sneak across the road and sit in the cool shade, and watch the festivities from a distance. On the Third (or last) day Dan made the brave venture into Bangkok to meet with Colin to arrange our visa's, and Ei remained in the more controlled madness in Rayong,.as their was clock work the festival, beginning in the late morning and winding down in the early eve.. Whereas in Bangkok, it was a water Frenzy! There was no end to the madness of water, Day and Night thousands of People flocked to Khao San (the tourist area) and it was a huge water party!... NOW let me repeat that...
Off for now,