Songkran Festival 2009’s Announcement
The Great Songkran Day this year falls on Monday 14 April 2009, corresponding with the Year of the Ox.
The Songkran Queen’s name is “ Korakatevee ”
Yellow dress with pearl ornaments, preferred butter oil, dagger in the right hand, walking cane in the left hand, tiger as the vehicle.
Prediction about the Great Songkran Day, the first day of Aries and New Year Celebration Day.
- In case of Songkran day is falling on Sunday, plants shall give inappropriate productivity. In case the first day of Aries falls on Sunday, the rice shall die, lots of foreigners will enter the country, the elders shall worry about something affecting them. Should the New Year Celebration fall on Sunday, the King shall have great power to eliminate all enemies from all directions.
- In case of Sonkran day is falling on Monday, tsenior government officers and their ladies shall have great power. Should the first day of Aries fall on Monday, there shall be sickness and expensive salt. Should the New Year Celebration fall on Monday, the Queen and her Lady-in-Waiting shall be happy.
- In case of Songkran day is falling on Tuesday, there shall be a lot of crime and serious sickness. Should the first day of Aries fall on Tuesday, all fruits shall be expensive. Should the New Year Celebration fall on Tuesday, all civil servants shall be happy and overcome their enemies.
- In case of Songkran day is falling on Wednesday, senior government officers shall be admired internationally. Should the first day of Aries fall on Wednesday, all food shall be expensive, widows shall loss their residence. Should the New Year Celebration fall on Wednesday, all psychologists shall be happy.
- In case of Songkran day is falling on Thursday,the subordinates shall lose their advantages to their superiors. Should the first day of Aries fall on Thursday, all fruits shall be expensive, the Royal Family shall be worried about the country. Should the New Year Celebration falls on Thursday, all monks, nuns and Brahmins shall perform good activities.
- In case of Songkran day is falling on Friday, there shall be richness with food and plants, heavy rain, strong storms, and people shall suffer from eye diseases and sickness. Should the first of day of Aries fall on Friday, chili shall be expensive, birds will suffer from disease, danger will occur to wild animals, and widows shall be lucky. Should the New Year Celebration Day fall on Friday, merchants and the head of the household shall have good luck in their business and earn lot of profit.
- In case of Songkran day is falling on Saturday,there shall be lot of crime and serious sickness. Should the first day of Aries fall on Saturday, food shall be expensive, less rice products, expensive fruit, less water and fire in the center of the city, and noblemen shall be punished. Should the New Year Celebration Day fall on Saturday, all soldiers shall beat their enemies.
In addition, there are predictions from other beliefs that if the Great Songkran Day falls
on Sunday, the Songkran Queen will be Mrs. Paengsri, rice will be very expensive, most people shall suffer from diseases, enemy attacks, rice and plants are destroyed by insects, uneven rains, millionaires shall become bankrupt, rubber trees will be a great plant for other plants, and the holy rice will remain at the bamboo tree.
On Monday, the Songkran Queen is Manora. In such year, there shall be lots of snakes, most people shall suffer from diseases and have bad luck, and the holy rice will remain at Mai Dua Kliang.
On Tuesday, the Songkran Queen is Raksot Thevi. In such year, there shall be good rains in the beginning and end of the year but less rain in the middle of the year, destruction to rice farms, less fruit productivity, bad situation in the country, rice and plants are destroyed by insects, and the holy rice will remain at Mai Oye Chang.
On Wednesday, the Songkran Queen is Mantha. In such year, there shall be uneven rainfall, half production and half destruction of rice yields, expensive goods, bad luck for noblemen, and the holy rice will remain at Mai Kram.
On Thursday, the Songkran Queen is Kanyathep. In such year, there shall be regular rain according to the reason, elders shall be in danger, lots of dead animals, the people will be happy and have wellbeing while the noblemen and monks shall be worried, and the holy rice will remain at Bastard Teak.
On Friday, the Songkran Queen is Rintho. In such year, there shall be good rain in the beginning of the year and less in the middle of the year, the plants and rice are destroyed, danger to monks, and the holy rice will remain at Mai Phuttha.
On Saturday, the Songkran Queen is Sama Thevi. In such year, there is a lack of rain, the plants are destroyed by insects, great fire and expensive goods.
Wan Chai"(the day of offering)
On this day, apart from preparing new clothes to wear, people will make desserts to offer to monks and to give to friends and relatives. This act of generosity is also a way to show off each family’s cooking skills.
Well-to-do families will make a large amount of desserts to give away to others. In the past it was not possible to buy desserts since everyone made their own. Nowadays, some Thais follow western traditions by buying and giving cakes to others, as it is more convenient to do so rather than cooking.
Offering food to monks
On the dawn of the first day of the incoming year, people will prepare the best varieties of food to offer to monks. They will also dress up in their best attire. After giving alms to monks, the monks will eat the offered food in the temple hall. People will then go home after the monks have finished their meal.
Making Sand Pagodas
There is no specific date for making sand pagodas. It can be done on any day close to Songkran in the temple grounds or on a riverbank. People in Kamphaeng Phet province also make offerings to monks on a riverbank. People in Nakhon Si Thammarat build their sand pagodas twice; first in a temple on the last day of the outgoing year, and then in the grounds of their houses on the first day of the incoming year. The sand used for building pagodas is often taken from a riverbank.
Releasing birds and fish
This tradition began a long time ago and it is normally done during the Songkran Festival. Before the festival, the weather is usually very warm and there is not enough water in ponds and rivers for fish to stay; as a result, people will go out to catch fish in dry ponds. Small fish which cannot be eaten will be kept at home until Songkran when there is more water, and then they will be released back to their natural habitat. This tradition has evolved over time and is widely practiced nowadays. At present, in addition to fish, people also free birds as an act of merit-making.
Apart from releasing birds and fish, there is also a ritual performed by monks to the remains of the deceased in order to pass on merit to them. This ritual is known as Bangsukun Atthi. It will be performed once during the Songkran Festival on any of the three days. In the past, Thais did not bring the ashes of the deceased back home, but the remains were buried under the Bodhi tree in a temple and monks would be invited to perform the ritual there.
This ritual is believed to be local and is not influenced by Indian traditions because the Indians usually discard ashes in a water source, especially into the Ganges River. In some areas in Thailand, people also perform a rite to worship guardian spirits of the village and town. In Central Thailand, household chores such as gathering firewood and fetching water are prohibited during Songkran, and these chores must be done beforehand.
Song Nam, Rot Nam, and Sat Nam
To bathe a Buddha image, people will first make an offering of flowers, candles, and incense sticks to the image. Then they will sprinkle lustral water signifying bathing onto the image as a gesture of respect. A procession of the Buddha image will be made prior to the bathing. After that people will also bathe a Buddhist monk, usually the abbot, by pouring lustral water over him. The abbot will change into a new robe offered to him by laymen, and then he will give a sermon and bless the people who attend these bathing rituals. Besides, people will also call on elders and respected people to ask for their blessings.
After that, people will play by splashing water at one another. A feast in the temple grounds will follow. Traditional desserts will be served there.
The Songkran Festival is very much related to water, since people believe that water splashing will induce abundant rainfall in the incoming year. Water is also a symbol of fertility and is used to clean bad things. As a result, water is used widely in different ceremonies and rites of passage.
Rod Nam Dam Hua
People in Northwest Thailand conduct the bathingritual to the elders and respected ones on New Year’s Day. Apart from flowers, candles, incense sticks, and new clothes, betel nuts, Acacia water, and traditional perfume are also part of the gifts presented. Betel nut is a symbol of respect and hospitality. In the old days, Acacia water was used as soap. Once the elders receive the gifts, they will sprinkle the Acacia water and the perfume on top of the younger family members’ heads to give them blessings.
Nowadays, some people still bring their new clothes and personal belongings along with other ritual objects; such as, banana, sugarcane, and jackfruit leaves, to the temple so that Buddhist monks can sprinkle them with holy water in order to purify the clothes. These clothes and objects will be kept untouched for days for auspiciousness.
The bathing of Buddha images can be done, firstly, by making an offering consisting of flowers, incense sticks, and candles to the image. Then, people will sprinkle them with lustral water. After bathing the images, laymen will pay respect to the chief Buddhist monk of the temple by pouring lustral water over him. The monk, after changing into a new robe offered to him, will give sermon and blessings to people who attend the bathing rituals.
After that, people will “play” by splashing water at others. Afterwards a feast will be organized in the temple ground in which traditional desserts will also be served.
The Songkran festival is very much related to water, since people believe that water splashing will induce abundant rainfalls in the incoming year. Water is also symbol of fertility and is used to clean up bad things. As a result, water is used widely in different ceremonies and rites of passage.