When in Rome! And songkran
I am a very safety conscious person, at work I constantly evaluate risk and this carries into my everyday life (sometimes unfortunately) Well you can throw all that out the window in Thailand. Tuk tuks are a brilliant method of transport and for a couple of miles cost less than a pound. It is great fun but if you were to fall out then I think you’re chances of survival would probably be dicey. BUT IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! And the kids loved it- so we did it whenever we could.
While we were there we were also fortunate enough to be there for the bt festival of Songkran. The festival begins on the 13 April and everyone is awakened at dawn to the sound of firecrackers, used to drive the evil spirits, or bad forces, away. This is the day when everything is scrupulously cleaned, in preparation for the new year.
The 14 April is the day between the old year and the new year and no one may quarrel or use harsh words to one another as it is important to have a good heart.
New Year's day (15 April) is called Wan Phaya Wan, day of great importance. It is the custom to go to the temple early in the morning to take food to the monks, as a form of merit making; and later in the afternoon to return to place small banners, known as Thung, on the top of the sand pagodas built the day before. Only then is it time for the family to celebrate, beginning with a visit to the oldest relatives, taking them gifts of areca nut, clove leaves, turmeric water and acacia oil. All the family are required to ask forgiveness from these respected elders for any wrong doings they may have committed throughout the year and to receive their blessing for the year to come, together with any instructions for improvement. At the end of this ceremony a little water is sprinkled onto the hands and heads of the old people as a blessing; and then quite a lot is thrown at the rest of the family in anticipation of the water wars that are to follow.
Traditionally, water should be thrown on 16 April but nowadays in Chang Mai it is not unusual for water to be thrown throughout the whole of the Songkran festival. There is no shortage of water, as the old city of Chang Mai is surrounded by a square moat, and hundreds of revellers gather in the streets nearby armed with high powered water pistols, bowls, buckets, in fact anything that will hold water; there are even hoses attached to pumps standing in the moat. Other participants ride around in pick-up trucks laden with huge barrels of water and hurl water indiscriminately at those on the side-walk, who defend themselves valiantly; everyone is guaranteed a soaking. No one is exempt, not even the policeman directing traffic, and all are expected to receive the ‘blessing' of the water with good humour, so ensure that your clothes will cope with the drenching and that your expensive camera is wrapped in plastic as no-one will listen to your pleas to be spared.
It was the world’s biggest water fight and was such fun, the kids loved it! Also included in the photos are the village where Boont comes from and her fathers rice being harvested and in the temple.