On Sunday, April 14, 2019  we celebrate the Songkarn Festival. You may know it by one of its "nicknames" – Thai New Year or the Water Festival.

It is a Thai tradition to give Alms offering to Monks. And in turn, you offer this good deed to relatives who passed away by wishing for them by pouring a small glass of water on a big tree and it is a very good deed and good luck for the beginning of a New Year. This year, as in earlier years there will be a ceremony of sprinkling the Buddha statues and Monks with flower pedals & perfumed water., and, of course, the congregation will also sprinkle perfumed water on each other for good luck and good health and a prosperous New Year. There will be Thai Vegetable and Thai food available.

For more information on Songkran also see the following articles:

Things to do on Songkarn:

Officially Thailand celebrates New Years Day on January 1. In ancient times, New Years way the first day of the waning moon of the first lunar month. This means that New Years was celebrated on different days from year to year. In these times, New Years Day occurred in late November. During the reign of King Rama V (1868-1919) New Years day was changed twice; the last time New Years was celebrated in April. When Thailand became a constitutional monarchy New Years Day was officially changed to January 1.

Remember that during the reign of Rama V, New Years was celebrated in April. Typical New Years activities in rural Thailand include exchanging gifts & greetings; water throwing (keep that in mind), building sand pagodas, and honoring elders. In rural Thailand April is a much better time to celebrate. January is too cold for many of these activities. It is also harvest time. April, on the other hand, is much better – the temperature is warmer and farmers are free from harvesting. 

This year's festival will include:

10:20 a.m.      Congregation gathers in the Main Temple.
10:30 a.m.      Pundit requests the Five Precepts from the Monks. Monks give the Five Precepts an blessing. Pundit leads in offering alms to the Monks.  Monks collect alms from the congregation.
11:00 a.m.    Congregation Offers lunch to the Monks in the Hall.

12:30 p.m.    Congregation gathers in the Main Temple.
-- The Abbot, Phra Krue Vi-Tas-Suth-Ta-Kun, gives a Sermon.
-- Pundit requests Dharma.
-- Monks chant and blessing for the ancestors.
-- Monks randomly receive robes and bless the offerings.
01:30 p.m.    Congregation gathers to form a parade to lead the Buddha Statue.
01:40 p.m.    The Buddha Statue Parade begins the three rounds of right hand circling of the Main Temple
02:00 p.m.     Pundit leads chanting in sprinkling perfumed and fresh flowers petals water to the Buddha statues and Monks and elderly.
Congregation will also sprinkle perfumed water on each other for good luck and good health and prosperous New Year.

Celebration of Thai Lunar New Year concludes

For those of you who have been to Songkarn before you know it is quite a celebration. You may want to bring some dry clothes if you join in on the sprinkling perfumed water part of the festival.