Images of Tantra, by Robert Powell
Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year's celebration, starting on 13 April every year and continuing for three days. Songkran translates from Thai as "move" or "change place", signifying the change in the sun's position in the zodiac at this time. It is also known as the "Water Festival", in which people douse one another continuously and liberally with water in the belief that it washes away bad luck.
The Songkran tradition is highly valued in the Thai community, society and religion. Families hold gatherings to express respect for their elders. They pour scented water onto the hands of their parents and grandparents and present them with gifts including offerings dedicated to the achievements of their ancestors. The elders reciprocate by wishing the younger generations good luck and prosperity.
During Songkran communities seek to create unity amongst themselves by making offerings to one another, meeting up, and enjoying performances and other entertainment together. The Thai society also observes Songkran in part by focusing respect on the environment: they team up to clean houses, temples, public places and official buildings, and they perform a bathing rite in honor of images of the Buddha and the monks. Thais observe their religion during this time by making offerings to monks, practicing Dhamma - the truth taught by the Buddha, listening to sermons, and bathing the monks. As part of our Songkran Celebration at Kamalaya, you will receive a Sai-Sin; a string bracelet which is made and blessed by a Buddhist monk. A Sai-Sin will protect you from harmful, bad spirits and bring you luck for the coming years.