HOME     TOURIST DESTINATIONS    BANGKOK HOTELS    MAPS    ABOUT THAIWAYS

   TOURIST DESTINATIONS

   
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- TOURIST DESTINATIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- TIPS & FACTS
- VISA
- TRANSPORTATION
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- MAP OF THAILAND

- AIRPORTS
- BANGKOK HOTELS
- BANGKOK TOURS
- BANGKOK IN BRIEF
- POPULAR AREAS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- BANGKOK MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- CHIANG MAI MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES&SPORTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- CHIANG RAI MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- HUA HIN MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PHI PHI ISLANDS
- KRABI MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PATTAYA MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PHANG NGA MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PHUKET MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- SAMUI MAPS



    HEALTH

- Overview, MEDICAL SERVICES
- Thai Spas
- Lasik
- Hearing Aids
- Dentistry

- Overview, THAI SPAS
- Thailand:spa capital
- Types of spas
- Spa treatments
- Spa Tips
- Spa Locations



    ABOUT THAILAND

- Overview, THAI CULTURES
- Court Culture
- Traditional Culture
- Linguistic Culture







 
NORTHERN THAILAND'S HIGHLIGHTS

thai romanization
Puzzled about
Thai romanization system ?



Happy New Year Songkran Festival By Saranya Suksawat
Songkran Festival_1
 
Are you wondering why we are saying "Happy New Year" to you at this late time? That is because April 13 is the traditional Thai New Year's Day, which is celebrated by the Thai people throughout the country from the old to the young and from the royalty to the ordinary people.
 
Songkran Festival_2
The Thais enjoy themselves on Songkran Day.
(By courtesy of TAT)
 
Thailand adopted this tradition from the ancient Brahmins in India who believed that the sun re-entered Aries and finished its orbit round the earth on April 13.
 
Songkran Festival_3
Buddhists sprinkle scented water on Phra Phuttha Sihing, a famous Buddha image in Thailand.
 
In northern India, April is the beginning of spring when the trees start to bud and bloom and the hibernating animals come out to find food. So, for the ancient Indian people, April was a sign of new life and marked the beginning of a new year. That is why they observed (some still do) their New Year's Day on April 13.

The Thais, who began their cultural relations with the Indians even before their recorded history, readily inherited this tradition partly because they were free from farm work during this period. This occasion is called "Songkran" by the Thais and "Sangkranti" by the Indians.

In Thailand, this festival is celebrated for three days from April 13 to April 15. Before the celebrations, people will clean their houses in the hope of casting away any bad luck of the old year, so that good fortune will slip into their new lives instead. Food and sweets will be prepared in advance for merit making and for treating guests.
 
Songkran Festival_4
 
In some northern rural areas, explosive sounds and loud noises will be made to chase the ghosts away. Candles will be lit and piles of wood will be burned in front of the houses on New Year's Eve to shine the way for the spirits, which old people believe will come out of their places on that night.

The Songkran celebrations will begin with food presentation to the monks who will walk along the streets in the early morning to receive food and other offerings. But some people will take food to the monasteries nearby for the monks.

After the food giving, the merit will be transferred to the ancestors by pouring water onto the ground or a tree. In big cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai, the most revered Buddha image will be carried in a procession along the streets to an open space for people to sprinkle water on to show their veneration.
 
Songkran Festival_5
Younger people pour water on the
elders' palms to convey their best wishes.
 

. One of the activities for young people to do is to convey their best wishes to their elders by pouring water on them or their palms. After this, it is time for children and young people to have full enjoyment with water-throwing, dancing and folk games. As the main activity is water throwing, the Songkran Festival is called the Water Festival by many foreigners.

 
Songkran Festival_5
Sand Chedi making is a way of merit making on Songkran Day. (By courtesy of TAT)
 
Regarding the origin of this joyous festival, legend has it that there was a god named Kabilla Phrom who loved to bet. One day he learned about a little boy named Thammabal Kumara who, at the age of seven, was able to recite scriptures in public. Knowing of this prodigy, the god would like very much to test Thammabal Kumara's knowledge.

So, he descended to earth and posed three riddles to the boy, with a wager that if Thammabal Kumara could solve them, the god would give him his head. But if the boy failed to come up with the right answers within seven days, he would lose his head to the god.
.
Songkran Festival_6
 
The three riddles were: where did a person's aura exist in the morning, where was it at noon, and where did it appear at night? The boy pondered over these riddles for six days. Yet he could not figure out the answers. Fortunately, while he was lying in despair under palm trees, he overheard a couple of male and female eagles talking joyfully that they would soon feast on the body of a boy who would not be able to solve three riddles.

They then disclosed the answers to these riddles. Thus, on the day of crucial importance, Thammabal Kumara just repeated what he had heard from the eagles, which turned out to be the correct answers, viz. in the morning, a person's aura appeared on his face, so he washed it. At noon, it was at his chest; so, he wore perfume there. And at night, his aura moved to his feet; that was why he bathed them.

As he had lost the bet, the god kept his word and cut off his own head. However, the head of Thao Kabilla Phrom was known to have some very strange potentialities: If it should touch the ground, the earth would catch fire; if it should be left in the air, there would be no rain; and if it should be dropped into the sea, the sea would dry up.
 
To save the earth from any of these calamities, the god's seven daughters placed their father's head on a footed tray and carried it in a procession around Mount Sumeru1 before setting it in a cave at Mount Krailat2 with many offerings.

Every new year at the beginning of a 365-day cycle on Songkran Day, the god's seven daughters took turns to bring out the god's head and carry it in procession around Mount Sumeru.

The seven Ladies of the Songkran festival are named after the seven days of the week. Each year, Songkran Day will fall on one of the seven days. For example, it falls on Tuesday this year, and the Songkran lady is called "Raksot". Below are brief details about them:

The Sunday lady, called "Tungsa Devi," wears pomegranate flowers behind her ears and her gem is ruby. She eats a kind of fig, holding a discus in her right hand and a conch in her left. She rides on a garuda.

The Monday lady's name is "Korakha Devi", she wears flowers from the Indian cork tree behind her ears. Moonstone is her gem. She has a sword in her right hand and a staff in her left. She eats oil and rides on a tiger.

The Tuesday lady named "Raksot Devi" has lotus buds behind her ears. Her gem is agate and she holds a trident in her right hand and a bow in her left. She drinks blood and rides on a pig.

The Wednesday lady is called "Montha Devi" and has champak flowers behind her ears. Cat's eye is her gem. She holds a stylus and a staff. She drinks milk and eats butter. A donkey is her vehicle.
 
Songkran Festival_7
 
The Thursday lady, whose name is "Kirini Devi", wears Magnolia flowers behind her ears. Her gem is emerald and she eats nuts and sesame seeds. She has a hook and a bow as her attributes, riding on an elephant.

The Friday lady called "Kimitha Devi", wears waterlilies behind her ears. Topaz is her gem and bananas are her food. A sword is in her right hand and a lute in her left. She rides on a buffalo.
 
Songkran Festival_8
 
The Saturday lady is named "Mahothon Devi". She has water hyacinth flowers behind her ears. Blue sapphire is her gem and she eats hog deer meat. She has a discus and trident as attributes. She rides on a peacock.

According to the legend, these Songkran ladies are more hideous than gorgeous. However, a beauty contest to choose the Songkran lady of the year always misleads people to believe otherwise.
Another tradition to be observed during the Songkran Festival is to free birds or fish as a way of merit making. This is done out of a belief that these creatures will take the bad luck away from their liberators.
 
Songkran Festival_9
 
Some readers may wonder why water is used as a means of greetings, blessing and showing respect in the Songkran Festival. In fact, water is used for such purposes not only at the Songkran Festival, but also at other Thai traditional rites, such as weddings and funerals.

The reason is that the Thais in olden times held that water was a pure thing which was able to wash all kinds of evil and misfortune away and bring good luck and happiness with it.
 
Songkran Festival_10
 
In former times when transportation was difficult, Songkran Day was specially significant to the Thai people. Because, in addition to its importance as New Year's Day, when boys and girls had a chance to meet one another and children had a lot of fun, Songkran, like Christmas Day of the Westerners and the Spring Festival of the Chinese, meant the day when members of a family, usually scattered in far away places, had a chance to stay, enjoy and celebrate together in a family reunion.
 
Songkran Festival_11
This and above pictures: Scenes of
Phra Pradaeng's Songkran Festival;
parades, a practice of bird & fish freeing,
and the saba game.
 
At present, the Songkran Festival is celebrated nationwide. Major provinces that will be participating in a grand way are: Bangkok (Khao San Road and Silom Road, Samut Prakan(Phra Pradaeng county), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai.
 
Songkran Festival_12
 
In all places, colourful and splendid processions, a Miss Songkran contest, folk dances and traditional games are held. No matter which place you may visit during the festival, you are sure to find great fun and enjoyment, though people who are not prepared to get drenched are advised to stay at a distance from the crowds.
So, if you are planning a vacation in April, why not take this opportunity to join the Thai people in their celebrations and share their enjoyment?

1According to ancient legends, Mount Sumeru is a mount on which the Tavatisma heaven is situated.
2Indra, a Hindu god, is believed to reside at Mount Krailat.
 
1 1 1

1
For the correct pronunciation of romanized Thai words, see
Romanization System of the Thai Language.

Advertisement



One of Some Best Buys