Thursday, April 16, 2009

Songkran: Thai New Year

April 13 is "Songkran;" New Year's Day in Thailand. Songkran is a time for Thais to mark the occasion through actions involving the pouring of scented water: Cleaning Buddha statues, rinsing the hands of elders, and the gentle pouring of water on heads and shoulders, all acts of respect and renewal. Another Songkran ritual is the dabbing of white powdery paste on cheeks to ward off evil. This tradition is still carried out over many days, but added to the gentler nature of Songkran is a revelry in which people carry the tradition to an extreme in a party atmosphere. It involves a LOT of water, the vessels of which range from bowls to garden hoses to super soakers to large ceramic jars carried in the beds of pickup trucks. To increase the merriment of the festival, large quantities of beer and loud music are added. All of this generally occurs in the streets and at all hours for several days, a happy way to cool off during Thailand's hottest month. Below are photos and a video from the Songkran party in Hua Hin.

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