A restful and reflective Songkran

Buckets of ice-cold water line the streets. Plastic water guns in all shapes and sizes hang along the market stalls. Colourful floral printed shirts adorn the shops. Cars are jammed up on every soi (lane). Pickup trucks are loaded with people and water buckets.

Welcome to the Thai New Year!  April is the hottest month of the year. So, it is no surprise that Songkran is known as a nationwide water fight. But the tradition of Songkran is quite peaceful and calm. People would spend their mornings in the temple to do their religious rites/rituals/traditions and make merit. Many have travelled back home to be with family and use the opportunity to pay respect to their elders. The younger ones would gently pour water on the elders’ hands or shoulders or even wash their feet. This is called “rod nam dam hua”. This purifying act, they believe, also symbolises the washing away of any past grievances they have done and seeking forgiveness from the elder. Some also just do so as an act of blessing for one another.

Photo courtesy of Arunee Ng.

Some Thai churches have adapted this tradition during the Sunday service. They will line up the elders and everyone will take turns pouring water while blessing the elders and the elders, in return, give words of blessing for the new year. We are reminded that Christ is the source of our eternal wellspring of life.

This year I spent the Songkran holidays resting at home and escaping the heat. But I also took the opportunity to bring the children from our outreach centre on a field trip to celebrate the school holidays! We went to Beung Chawak, a wildlife sanctuary which sits near a large lake. No splashing here. Perhaps a more laid-back and reflective Songkran for me.

Written by Arunee Ng, OMF missionary in Thailand

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