April 12, 2008

Songkran Festival

Saipan is a melting pot for Asians. Having lived here for more than a decade, I have witnessed celebrations of practically every national living here whenever there is a holiday back to their own country and as I have posted here.

April 13 was the start of the week long celebration of Songkran Festival or Thai New Year. We have been blessed by having good neighbors from Thailand and not only that, my wife has co-workers from the kingdom and we were invited to celebrate the merriment.

It was all begun with the preparation of the altar, adorned with flowers and ornaments along with the statue of Buddha of different variation. The celebration progressed with a procession of incense and the float of flowers as an offering. On with the beat of drum, cymbals and chants, they circled the altar where the effigies of the diety stand. It was then followed by a program where this small but proud community showcased their traditional dances that could be traced for thousand of years.

The ritual lasted by pouring of water with the use of flower or plant leaves and some with mixed fragraces to the Buddha. The tradition traces back to the pre-Buddist rituals of spring festivals where the throwing of water was meant as a symbol of luck to bring good rain for the crops. It was later converted to the religious custom of cleansing the statues of Buddha once a year as I was told.

The food that were served were some of my favorites and are some of the more universal Thai foods enjoyed during the Songkran festival.

The grace, the dance, the costume, the food and the Thai blends together on this celebration truly unique in the world. Putting of powder to the cheek was an amazement while the exchange of throwing water ensued as if I was in Thailand that moment.

It was a wet day on the year 2,551. Sawasdee Pi Mai!


Sidney said...

Looks like a fun festival!
Love Thai food.
I might have said this already in the past but your pictures deserve to be posted in a bigger size.
Those festivals are quite unique and worth a closer look !

Mandaragat said...

Thanks Sidney! I'll try it next time!

Senor Enrique said...

A festive occasion which is ideal for all photography buffs!

Great shots :)

Mandaragat said...

Thanks for dropping-bye Senor!

kaycee said...

I love the colors of all your photos!!!

ill be visiting to see more of your blog!