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HAPPY SONGKRAN

"tab" wishes everyone a happy Thai New Year


Songkran is the traditional New Year celebration of the Tai people according to the Thai lunar calendar. Nowadays it is dated from April 13 to 15. Unlike today's New Year of the Gregorian calendar, the Thai New Year does not reset the month count to one. This begins at the end of November or the beginning of December. Thus, the Songkran festival takes place approximately in the fourth or fifth month of the Thai calendar.


The festival is celebrated in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The word 'Songkran' is derived from Sanskrit (meṣa-)saṅkrānti, meaning the entry of the sun into the constellation Aries, the first sign of the zodiac (from meṣa 'ram' and saṅkrānti 'transition'). Since the date depends on the position of the constellation Aries, Songkran originally had no fixed date and took place at the vernal equinox (between March 19 and 21), but then migrated to the present date as a result of the shifting of the constellations due to the precession of the Earth's axis.


On the evening of April 12, almost all homes are cleaned. In the morning of April 13, families go to the wats and offer rice, fruits and other food. Afterwards, in the afternoon, the local Buddha figures and the head of the wat are "bathed" by pouring water on them. In many cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha statues are then paraded through the city to give other worshippers the opportunity to also douse the statues with water.


Other traditional elements of this holiday:

Young people visit family members of the older generation to pay respect by pouring small amounts of water over their hands. Jasmine flowers have been added to the water beforehand to make it fragrant.

Worshippers carry small amounts of sand into temples to pile it up in the forecourt to form chedi-like pyramids. The sand chedis are often decorated with colorful flags. The sand is supposed to return to its place of origin the dust that worshippers have carried away from there, clinging to their shoes, throughout the year.

Generally speaking, Songkran is the time of purification and renewal. Many Thais undergo a general cleansing of their homes to mark the occasion.


The ritual ablutions have evolved throughout history to the point that on Songkran everyone douses each other with water. This custom, which begins before the actual festival and continues beyond it, is practiced excessively, especially in larger cities; even as an uninvolved tourist, one can easily get wet. Regular processions of open floats spontaneously appear on the streets, on which the revelers transport filled water barrels (often also with ice blocks) to refill water pistols, buckets and bottles again and again. In addition, one is dusted with (baby) powder or talcum powder, or painted on the face with it.



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