Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Happy New Year (Songkran Festival)

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand...

The Thai New Year (สงกรานต์ = Songkran in Thai language) is fixed every year from 13 to 15 April. The Burmese New Year Thingyan is announced by the traditional calendar of Myanmar Team and normally falls around 13 April. Cambodia celebrates from 13 to 15 April as the Cambodian New Year on the full moon of the eleventh lunar month, at the end of Cambodia's rainy season. The Lao New Year is celebrated every year from 13 to 16 April.

The Water Festival (Thai:Songkran:สงกรานต์) is the form New Year celebrations take in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos and the Chinese province Yunnan on the day of the full moon of the 11th month of each year. It is called the 'Water Festival' by Westerners because people throw water at one another as part of the cleansing ritual to welcome the new year.

Traditionally people gently sprinkled water on one another as a sign of respect, but as the new year falls during the hottest month in South East Asia, many people end up dousing strangers and passersby in vehicles in boisterous celebration. The festival has many different names specific to each country, such as Songkran in Thailand and Pi-Mai Lao in Laos (translates as "New Year"), Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia, and Thingyan in Myanmar.

The New Year is celebrated in other south asian countries, based on the astrological event of the sun beginning its northward journey. Traditional dance, singing and cultural shows are performed together during the festival. Religious activities in the tradition of Theravada Buddhism are also carried out at both Pagoda and Monastery. Young people visit elders to pay respect during this period.

So, i am having a looooong holiday, because in Laos where i am now, the government has declared a week long holiday... No government offices activities, no banks, no school... so, sleep and eat and play water... LOL!!

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