Songkran is the Thai New Year’s Festival with the exception of this year is celebrated in April, the celebration last for seven days.
Previously Thais and foreigners alike would splash and pour and shoot water with water guns non-stop at each other for a few days. The idea behind this entertainment is to tie the bonds between families, society and nature tighter. The point is to be reminded that everyone is connected and important, that all is actually one.
Although our world has been turned upside down due the Coronavirus outbreak, Songkran this year might just be a perfect opportunity for every person to reflect on the current situation, take a moment to appreciate the people in our lives and do our part by practicing social distancing and support those affected but the Covid-19 pandemic.
Where does this delightful tradition come from? Although it’s been a Thai holiday throughout its entire history, the origins of Songkran are from neighboring Burma.
Songkran is derived from a Sanskrit word Sankranti which literally translates to “astrological passage” and means, “passing, approaching, change, or transformation.” The official holiday usually ran from, “the 13th up to the 19th of April. Global Top Group is open during this period.
But how should we celebrate Songkran in 2020?
The Songkran celebration is rich with symbolic traditions. Mornings usually begin with merit-making. On this specific occasion, performing water pouring on Buddha statues is a traditional ritual on this holiday. It represents purification and the washing away of one's sins and bad luck. As a festival of unity, people who have moved away usually return home to their loved ones and elders. Paying reverence to ancestors is an important part of Songkran tradition.
This year though people will have to think of alternative ways of taking part of in the symbolic traditions. Here are some ideas of celebrating Songkran while practicing social distancing and stopping the spread of the Coronavirus:
Instead of traveling home to pay respect to our loved ones and elders, rather get in touch virtually using apps such as LINE or Facebook Messenger or simply making a phone call.
Practice the tradition of pouring water on Buddha statues at home. It has been banned to throw water on people this year.
This year more than ever Songkran will remind us to stand united against the fight to eradicate the Coronavirus.