Thai Families Enjoy Songkran Together

April 13 is Songkran Day in Thailand.  It’s one of the biggest holidays of the year and usually extends for 4-5 days.  In some parts of Thailand the celebrations can last more than a week.

Songkran10Thai people traditionally have seen Songkran as a time for cleansing in hopes of washing away bad karma from the previous year and gaining good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.  Many Thai people give their homes a good cleaning during Songkran.  It’s also a time for cleaning Buddha images in their homes and local temples.  Originally this idea of cleansing was used as a time for blessing the elders in the family.  Children would take a small amount of water and pour it on the hands of their parents and grandparents to show respect and as a wish for good luck and good health.

Coming at the hottest time of the year, Songkran now has become a national water festival.  In addition to pouring a little water on their elders, many Thai people now use cups, buckets, water guns and even garden hoses to spray water on anyone and everyone around.  Some people ride around with large drums of water in the back of pickup trucks, throwing water on cars, on people riding motorbikes and people walking along the street.  In some neighborhoods Songkran has become an extended community water fight.  This is a time when Thai people really enjoy celebrating and having a good time.

In recent years the Thai government has announced an extended time for Songkran.  This year the official holiday runs from April 12 until April 16.  This makes it a good time for people to travel long distances to visit their families.  A large number of people living in Bangkok return to their hometowns and villages during Songkran.  Some businesses close and many street vendors disappear.  Highways are jammed, trains are overcrowded, planes are fully booked well in advance and many additional inter-city buses are scheduled to try to accommodate the huge number of people traveling throughout the country.

Our Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand office is closed during the Songkran holiday.  Our staff are visiting their families in northeastern, central and southern Thailand.  They’ll also take this opportunity to rest and relax from their work.

Please pray for us as we travel and use this extended holiday weekend as a time of refreshment and reconnecting with our families.

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