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2024-02-23 23:29

Editors Note:  The following was written by a Monk in the Thai Buddhist Temple in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and published in the March 2019 Temple news letter.  What Tampa celebrates Thai New Year on the Sunday closest to April 13.

Songkran is a traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3 days.  Songkran festival on April 13 is Maha Songkran Day or the day to mark the end of the old year.  April 14 is Wan Nao which is the day after and April 15 is Wan Thaloeng Sok which the New Year begins.

Songkran means "movement" or "changing" since according to Thai astrology, the sun will move into a new sign of the Zodiac on this day.  Songkran is also called the "Water Festival".  Water is believed to flow and wash away all bad omens during this time.  Thus, it is a time for cleaning: houses, villiages, temples and spirit houses.

In the Thai tradition, the New Year begins early in the morning when faithful Thai Buddhists give alms to the Buddhist monks.  After that, they release caged animals, especially birds and fish.  Elders and parents will be visited and respected by their children and grandchildren.  The young pour scented water over the elder's hands, they in turn, wish them good health, happiness, and prosperity.  The tradition of paying respect, is called "Rod Nam Darn Hua".  April 14 is called "Family Day".

In the afternoon, Thai Buddhist sprinkle scented water on Buddhist images.  After that, they sprinkle perfumed water on, or throw clean, cold water on each other.  Songkran is observed with excitement in the North, especially in the northen province of Chiang Mai.

 A lot of people from around the country will head upnorth to participate in the festivals organized there. A Miss Songkran Pageant will be held and a long and beautiful parade will be organized.

In Bangkok, the Buddha image "Buddhasihing" is brought out from the National Museum for people to sprinkle lustral water at Sanam Luang, opposite the Grand Palace.  Anyone who goes out on the street is likely to get a thorough soaking,  People believe that water will wash away bad luck, and splashing water over friends or anyone will give them a New Year blessing.


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