April 14, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

We’re waiting to have our meeting with the Wat Buddhananachat Temple committee. I got an email saying the group will be busy this week celebrating Thai New Year, also called the Water Festival Songkran. The celebration has much to do with honoring the family and elders. The symbolic use of water is used to cleanse away troubles of the previous year. Many Thai travel to be with family during this week. They engage in an annual ritual of washing statues of Buddha. Children ceremonially wash the outstretched hands of family elders.

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Driving home this afternoon, a listened to reporter for National Public Radio who was in Thailand for the second day of what turns out to be several days of national festivities. For all the family and ritualistic ties, this festival also is popular for another reason. The Songkran Festival is also a rollicking water fight! In Bangkok and many other cities, Thais and now many tourists take to the streets to playfully douse each other with buckets, hoses, and water pistols. Municipalities open up fire hoses to drench the crowd. The NPR reporter notes that the soaking revelers participate with good cheer and merriment.

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We extend our very best wishes to the Thai community in Austin as they engaged in the festivities and celebration of Songkran this weekend. I don’t know if they’re also planning to turn on the hoses, but with rainstorms projected for this weekend, I wonder if that counts.

A video promoting Wat Buddhananachat’s Songkran celebration from 2012.

Liturgical Arts