I have just been asked for permission to use this for secondary students – which I have given. I’ve not put it on my blog before – it was published a few years ago as a guest post for 2camels about worldwide festivals. See their website for a couple of other festivals that I’ve written for them.
My weapon of choice was a bright green, double-barreled, pump-action, water pistol. Never has New Year been so much fun!
Everyone is armed. Old and young, all have buckets, bottles, hoses, urns, water guns and even the fire tender is on hand to add to the total sum of water. Much of the liquid is gold coloured and yellow flowers float in it. The crowd is sprayed, monks and police officers are as wet as everyone else is. The smiling Thais love to see Farangs (foreigners) joining in the celebrations and fun.
What is all this festivity about? It’s a festival called Songkran in Thailand and each April Buddhists observe the Buddhist New Year.
Buddha images are dowsed with water and carried in processions around the temple and streets to the accompaniment of music, laughter, and water water water! The water blesses and purifies everything. Homes are cleaned ready for family and friends visiting to celebrate new beginnings.
My first day, of the three of the fun and games, was at the temple Wat Phochai in the little city of Nong Khai on the banks of the mighty Mekong River (bordering Laos) and off the tourist trail, I was one of only five or six visitors there so became a real target for being constantly blessed – by being dowsed.
“Farang, farang” the cry goes up.
“No! No!” I join in the fun, “Khon Thai. Khon Thai” I call. They laugh at this visitor thinking she is Thai. By nine in the morning I’m soaking wet – long before I’ve reached the temple steps.
The atmosphere is a mixture of reverence and fun, prayers and laughter, dancing and music.
‘Come with us – come’ a woman calls. Captured, or adopted, by a family as they dance out of the temple grounds, I too dance after the pied-piper-like man playing his khaen, a flute-like reed instrument. . . .
Read the article on http://www.2camels.com/songkran.php#ixzz38zYdpHCj