Friday, April 24, 2009

Songkran

You don’t need to live long in Thailand to know that they are living different year than the Western counterpart. It’s now 2553 here. The Thai new year celebration is also called Songkran. It is celebrated on 13-15 of April. Thai people closely follow the traditional activities during the three days. Although in some provinces the celebration last longer than three days.

The throwing of water is the most fun part of the celebration. It seems everybody in the community should join because people will look at you with disdain for spoiling the fun. Our children and their friends join in this activity. I drove them around the town on the back of a pick-up truck and splash water to every people we came across on the streets. The most fun however, was when two or three pick-up trucks crisscrossed on the street. It was like a war with water as the weapon. There was a lot of cheers and laughter. And since they are all young people and observing them from afar, it was like a hint of friendship was about to start. But of course, a few seconds of fun really don’t amount to anything in terms of relationship. However, a sense of being in one community was stronger at least for that particular moment.

On the following day, the splashing of water should be over and people should visit temples, shrines, monasteries to watch the washing of the statues of Buddha with scented water. It was also the time to offer prayers, gifts, food to the monk. Following this is the releasing of fish to the water and birds to the sky. This believe to bring good luck for everyone. Our house is just two blocks away from the temple and I saw only a handful of people observed this activity. While on the streets, the people were still having fun getting each other wet.

I’m sure for many of the younger generation, the religious significance of the Songkran have been lost. Nonetheless, isn't the fun and the sense of casual friendship and sense of community that the festival brings were enough to reflect on the goodness of God?

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