Who would have known that for a lot of the communities in South East Asia and South Asia, New Year is celebrated sometime in the first quarter of the Gregorian calendar. The Thais just had their version of the New Year called the Songkran festival, which is celebrated within a span of 3 days. I am sure that many have heard of the term Songkran and would associate it with a lot of water (and fun) and after what I have experienced for one day at the Songkran festival, I’d have to say you would definitely be blessed in a lot of water. Thank goodness that my equipment was wrapped and protected or that would have been a very expensive Songkran shoot. However, besides getting carried away with the fun of throwing water and getting splashed with buckets of it under the hot sun, the essence behind this activity is based on the simple fact that water is cleansing. As a form of respect, the community blesses each other with water, to wash away past impurities and to present themselves clean to usher in a new year. I guess regardless of the community and culture, the New Year is often traditionally celebrated in a ritualistic way for people to prepare for the new year ahead in hopes that the new year would bring forth health, prosperity, safety and most importantly happiness. Indeed the Songkran I witnessed a very solemn occasion that involves cleansing rituals with water, visiting and cleaning the wats, praying and performing alms to the monks.Both my fellow backpacker, Mohd. Ming (a great photographer too) and I agreed that the whole festival was rich and robust (and very wet). There was so much celebration going around that involved both locals and tourists from abroad and it made the already fulfilling trip an eye candy for our eyes and lenses.
Blessing with water is beautiful; it is as if the innocent water of the earth which has flown wild and free in rain and ocean comes to bless its embodied human sister.
~ John O’Donohue