It’s Songkran Time Again

Songkran festival

Songkran festival (Photo credit: -AX- )

Songkran in Laplae, Uttaradit, Thailand

Songkran in Laplae, Uttaradit, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Thai New Solar Year starts today 13th April. The temperatures are rising, and today it’s time for the Songkran Festival of Water to start.

Thailand‘s most celebrated festival is the Songkran Festival. It starts April 13 and lasts between 3 and 10 days, depending on where you are in Thailand. The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit meaning the beginning of a new Solar Year, but nowadays Thailand celebrates the New Year on 31 December.

The Thai people celebrate this festival with water. Everyone gets soaking wet and since it is the hottest season of the year, the custom is quite refreshing. Songkran is a Public Spring Cleaning Day, supported by the religious belief that anything old and useless must be thrown away or it will bring bad luck to the owner.

During the afternoon of the 13th, Buddha images are bathed as part of the ceremony. Young people pour scented water into the hands of elders and parents as a mark of respect while seeking the blessing of the older people. In ancient days, old people were actually given a bath and clothed in new apparel presented by the young folks as a token of respect for the New Year.

Until recently Thailand was almost entirely an agricultural society and this has been a perfect time to take break from the business of earning a living. The rice harvest is in, and replanting has to await the coming of the rains.

It is an old belief that the Nagas or mythical serpents brought on rain by spouting water from the seas.

The Naga

The Naga

The more they spouted, the more rain there would be. So, one might believe that the Songkran customs of throwing water is actually a rain-making idea, but it seems that the Thais don’t really bother about why they celebrate Songkran – they just do it for having a great time!

If you are on a motorbike today you WILL arrive home soaking wet, as hundreds of people will be on the sides of the road with large tanks of water, throwing it at people on motorbikes, cars and each other. The Hua Sai Fire Engine is going up and down the roads topping up people’s tanks.

The local temples have events today and are all very busy.  Hua Sai, a usually relatively quiet town, has seen a large influx of people arriving from Bangkok and other large towns by car and coach, as people return to their home town for the Songkran Festival, a national holiday.

Songkran Water Fun

Songkran Water Fun

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It’s Songkran Time Again

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Tsunami Alert Lifted in Thailand

The National Disaster Warning Centre has lifted the tsunami warning after an 8.6 magnitude earthquake struck off Sumatra on Wednesday afternoon, centre director Somsak Khaosuwan said.

Grp Cpt Somsak said he was confident that there will be no tsunami in the six provinces on the western coast of Thaland.

The six provinces include Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga Satun, Trang and Songkhla.

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Sumatra Earthquake effect on Thailand Update

The TAN (Thai-Asean News Network) update at 20:00 Thai Time.

Here is an update by TAN (Video will be available at around 20:40 Thai Time (13:40GMT) when upload finished):

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Sumatra Earthquake 8.7 threatens Thailand Coast

A massive earthquake has struck off of the Indonesian coast. Tsunami warnings have been issued around the Andaman Sea Coastal areas in Thailand.

According to initial reports, the quake tremors were felt in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and India too.

A tsunami alert for the Indian Ocean was immediately put in place following the earthquake which occurred at a depth of 33km. The quake epicenter is reported to be at about 495Km to the south west of Banda Aceh in Sumatra. Tsunami alert are targeted for the following countries:
Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, Maldives, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Madagascar, Iran, UAE, Yemen, Comoros, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, South Africa, and Singapore

Indonesia and particularly the region around Sumatra is known to be a region prone to seismic activities all year long.

Tsunami waves are expected along the coast of Mauritius between 18:00 and 19:00 today.

Sky News reports that evacuation is going on in Sumatra.

Sumatra Eathquake

 

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