Songkran is the traditional Lao and Thai New Year; also called the Water Splashing Festival, this year I’ll be visiting one of our local Wats (temples) to celebrate the festive event. Most temples that I know are holding the event on both Saturday and Sunday (4/14 and 4/15/2007).
This is actually my first year, visiting Wat (temple) on Songkran since I’ve been to the US. My dad said that we’d be pouring the water on Buddha images (lodh nom songk) and the monks (songk nom pra); then we’ll receive best wishes from them. The monks would be busied with visitors, and some visitors would want them to tie white ropes around their wrists, which I think its part of our tradition for good luck and prosperity for the year.
What I remember most about Songkran when I was little was the water splashing; it was welcoming because it’s extremely hot in Laos and Thailand during this time of the year. The US climate is very different from back home, and it’s still a bit cold in our area, so I’m not sure if people would splash water at each other. My GI Joe sister said that they would only do it if they know you, but I’m not taking my chances, I’m bringing extra set of clothes just in case. Another thing to look forward to are the food and souvenir vendors at the Wat (temple); I’m looking forward to eat tum buk houng and ping kai (spicy papaya salad and roasted chicken on a stick). This Wat (temple) that I’m visiting is not that big, so most likely they won’t have music or live band, I’m assuming that Wat Lao Buddhavong of Washington D.C. would because they have huge stage, and it’s a heartland of many states, visitors would be coming from Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and might even be as far as New York City, and I believe that they’re having their Songkran Festival this weekend also.
This is my Third New Year celebrations for this year, Happy Lao New Year to all “Sabai Dee Pee Mai”. 🙂