One month until Songkran!
Yes, Songkran is just around the corner, just one month before the wettest of all celebrations, the Thai New Year, aka Songkran. I am sure by Googling you can find out that "Songkran is a Sanskrit word in Thai form which means the entry of the sun into any sign of the Zodiac. But the Songkran in this particular instance is when the sun enters the sign of Aries or the Ram. Its full name is Maha Songkran or Major Songkran to distinguish it from the other ones.".. see Thailand Life. You can also find out that "This is the time for Thais to pay homage to Buddha images, clean their houses, and sprinkle water on their elders in a show of respect.".. see Songkran in Thailand.
A show of respect... I think to appreciate the older and traditional aspect of Songkran you have to maybe visit a temple in the morning of April 13th, or if you have some local friends, all that traditional stuff goes on behind closed doors. We will take out our Buddha images and clean them, the kids do Songkran activities at school and a couple of years ago we attended a turtle release ceremony at Nai Yang Beach in Phuket.
It seems to me that the tradition has all but been swamped by the other side of Songkran - waterfights, water throwing, alcohol, one big party all over Thailand. In Phuket (home), this only lasts one day. A couple of years ago, the local authorities decided one day of water fights was plenty, so it's only on the 13th of April. In Chiang Mai it goes on for days. This means you have to be in the right mood for days. I can handle a day, don't mind getting wet for a day, shutting the office for a day, partying for a day, but a week is crazy indeed. If you go to Chiang Mai for Songkran, be ready and don't say you weren't warned! No point getting angry when someone throws a bucket of ice water all over you and follows it up with a smear of wet talcum powder.
I'm happy to be in Phuket for Songkran and just have a day of fun, and be reasonably sure of being safe from drenchings on the 14th... Looking forward to it already!
(All Photos © Jamie Monk)
More Songkran photos on Jamie's Phuket blog:
• Songkran 2008
• Songkran 2007
In Thai, the word Songkran is สงกรานต์ - You are forgiven for writing Sonkran or Songran or Soncran or Songcran. After all, this is Thailand!