Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy Thai New Year



I absolutely love Thai food, and this is the week of Thai New Year.  The Songkran festival (Thai: สงกรานต์ ) is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year's Day from April 13-17.  

Songkran falls in the hottest time of the year in Thailand, at the end of the dry season; April is the hottest month in Thailand (temperatures can rise to over 100°F).

The most famous Songkran celebrations continue for six days and even longer.  The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water.  

The throwing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, by capturing the water after it had been poured over the Buddhas for cleansing and then using this "blessed" water to give good fortune to elders, friends, neighbors, and family by gently pouring it on the shoulder.  Among young people, the holiday evolved to include dousing strangers with water.  This has further evolved into water fights and splashing water over people riding in vehicles.  Thais roam the streets with containers of water or water guns or post themselves at the side of roads with buckets and garden hoses and drench each other and passersby.  The spirit of holiday merriment is shared amongst all town residents and tourists alike.


The real meaning behind the water splashes is to symbolically wash off all misfortunes in the past year, thus welcoming the New Year with a fresh new start.  
Some people make New Year resolutions - to refrain from bad behavior, or to do good things. Songkran is a time for cleaning and renewal. 

To celebrate, I took my husband out to a local Thai restaurant, Sawatdee, that was having a Thai New Year celebration.   
Before we left, I was getting ready to take a shower, when my husband snuck up on me with a bucket of water, yelled “Happy New Year” and completely soaked me.   I screamed, then laughed, and then headed straight for a hot shower.  Of course he justified it by saying that it was good for me and it washed all the bad things away from last year.  I still can’t believe he did it.   

Anyway, back to dinner…….
 
I started with the Thai New Year Kir; sparkling wine and Midori which represents water and prosperity.   
Special egg rolls for an appetizer.
Thai beef jerky, papaya salad, cashew chicken stir fry, and Kanom Jeen, which was their green chicken curry with special long rice noodles which represents a long life. 
Thai dance
Fashion Show

The reason that the Thai New Year is on my radar is because I happened to be in Thailand during the Thai New Year in 2008.  It was a great trip with lots of amazing food and lots of water surprises; it was like a week long water fight.  Here are some photo highlights from the trip.....

Visiting a Buddha temple - have to have legs and arms covered despite the heat.




Thailand has the BEST pineapple I've ever had.  So sweet and golden.

Boat ride to Laos

???

Awesome street food - I ate a lot of new and different things and never got sick.
Driving the elephant.


Fresh lychee fruit.

Water fight!  The whole truck is filled with water.



They also put a water and chalk mixture on people's cheeks - I think it is supposed to keep you cool.


Gorgeous flowers.


Can you spot the monkey?


Amazing food.

Eating the Durian (stinky) fruit.



Shopping at the floating the market.

Ready for my Thai massage.  Of which I had many.  The massages were amazing and cheap.

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