Ticking off the Songkran bucket list – respect before revelry
PHUKET: By the time you read this, I hope you took a plastic bag with you to the shop to buy your copy of the Phuket Gazette. Songkran has once again come and gone, having been celebrated by the traditional bucket load.
Most Phuket oldtimers I know choose to stay indoors during the Thai New Year, happily avoiding the deluges of ice-cold water tossed amid the stifling heat.
I am usually – and rather ironically, among them – as my primary fear during these holidays is being inadvertently taken out by the drunken mayhem on the roads.
But this year I ventured out. I no longer stood accused of being a Songkran grinch.
In years past, I have taken part in the traditional water blessing to elders as the first order of business on the national day of revelry. It is a beautifully humbling experience soaked in respect.
Far too often have I heard the cries of whinging farang espousing that the Thai youth of today have forgone this ritual for the sake of engaging in street battle water fights.
I cringe every time I hear it, for it is simply not true.
All the Buddhist Thais I know start the day with the respectful water-blessing ceremony, and then enjoy the water fights. The Muslim Thais I know start the day with respectful blessings for their elders, but without the pouring of water over hands, and then join the water fights. To me, there is very little difference in the essence of either format.
So this year I endeavored to be a little more Thai, to respect my elders and to have fun. There is no reason why we can’t do both.
— Damian Evans
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