The Thai people annually mark their new year with a rich festival called Songkran. Songkran originates from a Sanskrit word that translates to mean “astrological passage” in English. The specific date of the celebration was historically determined by the Lunar calendar and aligned with the rising of Aries on the astrological chart. But it now is predetermined for the 13th of April each year.
One of the famous happenings during Songkran are the large water festivities based on the ancient belief of water pouring for purification. Traditionally during this passage of time water would be poured over the head of Buddha statues and the hands of elders in hopes of fortune. Though this is still done, if you were to visit Thailand today during the celebratory days of 13-15 April, you’ll find the city of Chang Mai as well as others transformed into large mile long water fights that attract hundreds of non-Buddhist visitors each year.
Recently here on Guam the Thai community shared pieces of their heritage and this annual festival with us.
There was food, traditional dance performances, and of course some water fun, mainly for the kiddos.
I think it’s such an honor when people take the time to share their culture with outsiders. It’s so lovely to be let into the world of another person and allows for broader cultural understanding. So much of the disunity in our world is due to a lack of understanding of one another. The fine nuances of how we were raised, our family values, and world view can play such a large role in how we interact and get along cross culturally. I was so giddy to take my girls and husband to this event and was sure to capture some beautiful shots. I greatly value cultural identity and want my girls to recognize the intrinsic value of all people groups. I try and take every opportunity possible to expose my family to different cultures, especially those very different from our own. I was able to capture a detailed look of one of the main dancers, the dance performances, and even a few close-ups of the delectable dishes. Check out all my videos from the day’s events.
Have you visited Thailand or taken part in a Songkran celebration? Do you dream of visiting South Asia? Let me know your thoughts and comments on the photos. I’ll be sure to reply.
I was so excited to hear this recent NPR segment about Thai Americans in Los Angeles, California preparing for Songkran.