Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bring on Songkran

Next week is Songkran, my favorite Thai holiday.

It's everybody's favorite Thai holiday, though, because even though Thailand has about a million holidays, generally Thai holidays aren't celebrated so much as marked by Buddhist rituals. And lots of drinking.

Songkran is celebrated. There's ritual involved, too, and traditions and customs. But just like how Christmas is really about the birth of Christ, but it's also candy canes and stockings, gifts and mistletoe and Christmas carols and family recipes; Songkran has evolved.

Songkran is Thailand's traditional New Year celebration and traditionally one ritual allowed young people to honor their elders through the sprinkling of jasmine water.  But over hundreds and thousands of years, reverently sprinkling sweet-scented water over the hands of your grandparents and respected neighbors evolved into the world's largest water fight. Seriously.

For three straight days, the entire country battles it out in the biggest splash-fest imaginable. You can't not participate.  Everywhere you go, people are carrying water guns. In front of every home, children man the hoses, ready to douse the "unsuspecting" passersby. There are barrels of water on every street corner. surrounded by rowdy teenagers with bowls and buckets.  You don't make plans that would require you to stay dry.  Everybody "plays" Songkran.


The oddest thing about Songkran is that everyone wears Aloha shirts.  Don't ask me, I just live here.  But with temperatures in the 90s and 100s every day for weeks on end, I think people would agree to wearing muumuus if that's what it took to get splashed.

6 comments:

  1. THAT IS SOOOO COOL!!!!

    Okay, I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Thailand, but now I am going to time it to fall on Songkran, and hopefully you will be my tour guide :D

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    1. Of course I'll be your tour guide! You should definitely plan your trip around Songkran- nothing else can top it.

      Some people do want to make their trip in winter to escape from the cold, but since you're in california you must have pretty nice weather year 'round, too!

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  2. OMGeeeee! This sounds like the most awesome holiday in the WORLD! Not only is the underlying meaning beautiful...could there be anything more fun that a 3 day water fight in colorful shirts? No, I don't think so.
    I love this...and I hope you have a super-soaker. --Lisa

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    1. You should see some of the guns people rig up, it's unbelievable!

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  3. We have something similar in our country.
    Songkran sounds like so much FUN!!

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    1. Is yours a waterfight, too? Having lived here for almost ten years, I don't understand why there isn't a national waterfight day in the US, too! :)

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