April is approaching. Many of you are getting excited about the Songkran Festival ประเพณีสงกรานต์ that is celebrated throughout 13-15 of April each year. It’s the biggest water festival on earth where people gather and have fun by splashing water and shooting water guns in the hottest summertime in Thailand.
Besides, the water party, Songkran is indeed full of traditional activities that reflect Thai values and cultures behind it. In this blog post, I will introduce you to Thai traditional activities celebrated during Songkran Festival.
Read a blog post to learn more about Songkran here:
All you need to know about Songkran Festival
If you’re are in Thailand during Songkran, you will realize that many local Thai are wearing colorful flower-printed shirts. It looks similar to a Hawai shirt but full of flowers. These colorful printed shirts give a meaning of vibrance and positivity.
As Songkran days were announced as Thailand’s national public holiday as “the Thai New Year”, many people take this opportunity to return to their hometown and spend time with their family members in different generations.
My family, for example, always meet on the 13th at our great grandparents’ house to cook, eat and meet together. It’s when we catch up and share our life stories.
Pouring water on Buddha
Thai people believe in cleaning and purifying lives with water. So we usually pour jasmine water on Buddha statues. This action will clean away bad luck for the coming year. Besides, Thai people believe that the element of water is cold and fresh. It’s a symbolic way of starting their new year with peace.
Pouring water palms of seniors to ask for a blessing
In some families, companies, or schools, we invite seniors of the community to sit down in a roll so we can pour the water on their palms and ask for a blessing. The activity is call รดน้ำดำหัวผู้ใหญ่ (ród-náam dam hǔa pûu-yài).This reflects the Thai value of respecting seniority.
Paste the natural talc power on faces
As April is one of the hottest months of the year in Thailand, we use natural talc powder mixed with water to put on others’ faces softly with respect. This talc work as sunscreen to protect the sun UV.
If you live in a village or a smaller community, the center of the community is a temple wherein it held a religious ceremony, lessons as a school, as well as important meetings.
Temple fair is full of food vendors, games, as well as public Thai traditional dance or รำวง where folk music is played and everyone dances in a circle.
As mentioned above, Temple is the center of the community. People always come and go. We visit the temple a couple of times each year and surely we took some dirt and sand with our shoes. This period is the time we bring back the sand we took.
Many people brought a bag full of sand to the temple as a donation. This sand is used to carve different shapes and forms of pagodas by different organizations. Later on, the temple will use this sand to build and renovate construction in the temple.
Beauty pageant contest
The last but not least, there is beauty content hosted during Songkran. We are looking for a Songkran pageant that is full of beauty and talents.
This tradition comes from the belief of folk story of 7 Songkran ladies or นางสงกรานต์ that will rotate each year to come in which each Songkran lady provides a prediction of the country’s situation and fortune.
Now you already knew 6 traditional activities Thai people celebrate during the Songkran holidays. I hope I can show you that Songkran is not only about water fights and parties, there many other interesting and beautiful parts that come along.