Songkran

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The Long Ride Home during The Thai New Year, “Songkran“

The Thai New Year is almost over in most provinces of Thailand and due to local culture which I call the DAD season (Drunk And Dangerous season) it was time to hang up the bike for a few days and stay off the roads both day and night.

According to newspaper editor: Huaxia. BANGKOK, April 17 (Xinhua) -- A total of 378 people have been killed and more than 3,500 others injured in Thailand's road accidents in a six-day time during Songkran festival, according to an official report released on Tuesday.

But despite all the fatalities and injuries Songkran continues the way it has every year and it is certainly for the hard working people of Thailand to chill out, relax, and practice their Buddhist religious beliefs at this important time of the year regardless of the dangers. Many foreigners come here to join in the fun and games around the country which involves getting wet for days on end.

I’m back in the Suphunburi region and managed to catch the tail end of a very important Buddhist water festival at a Dan Chang temple. The temple provided free food and drinks for the local Moo Ban residents followed by a dowsing of holy water involving the head monks and novice monks (Naan).

The ritual involves blessing of barrels of water laden with flowers followed by the monks in queue pouring a small amount of water over a golden Buddha statue. They being approx 30 to 40 monks then sit on chairs in a L formation in readiness to bless all attending with Buddhist prayers before locals proceed to line up in queue by the hundreds to take turn in pouring the holy water on the golden Buddha then in turn on the seated monks.

The practice involves each individual to pour the holy water on every part of the monk starting with the feet towards the head or in opposite directions head down to the feet.

After a day of festivities I’m out on the road again and business is normal. The summer has arrived and I pass by farmers hard at it out in the sweltering heat. Farmers cutting the last crops of sugar cane and fishermen on the local Krasiao Dam who carry out a unique balancing act on what appeared to be a whole bunch of empty plastic oil bottles strung together. They continued their amazing act looking like wind surfers with their makeshift bamboo poles and lightweight fishing nets attached as they occasionally thrust the poles rapidly skywards in attempt to get their catch for the day.

I’m looking forward to riding in the rainy season to keep cool as temperature can reach 40 degrees during Rue Du Rawn summer season. Uncomfortable as it sounds the rain will keep the body temperature down while riding in the tropical heat of SEast Asia.

Wikipedia describes Songkran as the Thai New Year's national holiday. Songkran is 13 April every year, but the holiday period extends from 14–15 April.

In 2018 the Thai cabinet extended the festival nationwide to five days, 12–16 April, to enable citizens to travel home for the holiday. The word "Songkran" comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti literally "astrological passage", meaning transformation or change. The term was borrowed from Makar Sankranti, the name of a Hindu harvest festival celebrated in India in January to mark the arrival of spring.

Songkran coincides with the rising of Aries on the astrological chart and with the New Year of many calendars of South and Southeast Asia, in keeping with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar. This year Songkran was extended to the 20th April in places like Pataya to fall in place with local tradition.

Truck Sams on the long ride home during Songkran the Thai New Year.