In short

Songkran (Thai: เทศกาลสงกรานต์, pronounced [tʰêːt.sà.kāːn sǒŋ.krāːn]) is the national Thai New Year holiday. Songkran is on April 13 each year, but the holiday period runs from April 14 to 15. In 2018, the Thai cabinet extended the nationwide festival to five days, from April 12 to 16, to allow citizens to return home for the holiday.

Le mot « Songkran » vient du mot sanskrit saṃkrānti, littéralement « passage astrologique », signifiant transformation ou changement. Il coïncide avec le lever du Bélier sur la carte astrologique et avec le Nouvel An de nombreux calendriers d’Asie du Sud et du Sud-Est, conformément au calendrier hindou et au calendrier bouddhiste.


Songkran, the Thai New Year

According to the Buddhist scriptures of Wat Pho, Songkran arose from the death of Kapila Brahma (Thai: กบิลพรหม, romanized: Kabilaphrom, lit. "Redish Brahma"). Once there was a rich man and his neighbor, a drunkard. The drunkard, who had two sons, belittled the rich man because he had no children. The rich man was humbled and begged the gods of the Sun and Moon to grant him a son. His attempts failed until he offered cooked rice to the tree god living in a banyan tree, who asked Indra to grant the man's wish. The child, named Thammabal (Thai: ธรรมบาล, also Dhammapala, lit. 'one who protects justice'), was born.

Thammabal was an intelligent child who learned three vedas, the language of birds and also taught people to avoid sin. Kapila Brahma learned about the child and wanted to test the child's intelligence. The god asked: “Where is the glory of men (sri) in the morning, the day and the evening? » The loser would have his head cut off. The boy thought in vain for six days, but did not find a solution to the riddles. 

He was lying under a sugar palm tree and overheard a conversation between a pair of eagles who were planning to eat his corpse when he lost the bet. The female eagle asked her companion if he knew the answer. He replied, “In the morning, sri appears on the face, so people wash their faces every morning. At midday, the sri is at chest level where people spray perfume every midday. In the evening, the sri goes to the feet, so people wash their feet every evening. » Thmmabal memorized the answer and gave it to Kapila Brahma the next day. 

Having lost, Kapila Brahma summoned his seven daughters and told them that he must cut off his head. However, if his head fell to earth, it would create a hell that would engulf the world. If his head were thrown into the air, the rains would stop. And if his head fell into the ocean, all the seawater would dry up. To prevent these calamities, he told his daughters to place his head on a raised phan. Thungsa, his eldest, stored his father's head in the cave of Mount Kailash.

Each year, when the Sun enters Aries, one of Kapila Brahma's children, called the Nang Songkran (Thai: นางสงกรานต์, lit. 'Lady Songkran') for that year, and other angels form a procession. One of them takes the phan with the head of Kapila Brahma. The lady stands, sits, lies down or sleeps on the animal's back depending on the time. From dawn to noon, the lady will stand in the back of her vehicle. After noon until sunset she will sit. 

Between sunset and midnight, the lady lies down on her vehicle but leaves her eyes open. After midnight, she sleeps. These postures and other details were previously drawn as part of the Prakat Songkran and now as part of the lunisolar calendar. The procession lasts 60 minutes around Mount Meru. This is then called Maha Songkran to distinguish it from other Songkrans which occur when the Sun moves from one zodiac to another. For simplicity, the name was later shortened to Songkran.

La célébration de Songkran est riche de traditions symboliques. Les matinées commencent par le mérite. Visiter les temples locaux et offrir de la nourriture aux moines bouddhistes est une pratique courante. À cette occasion précise, verser de l’eau sur les statues de Bouddha et sur les jeunes et les personnes âgées est un rituel traditionnel, représentant la purification et le lavage de ses péchés et de sa malchance. En tant que festival d’unité, les personnes qui ont déménagé rentrent généralement chez elles auprès de leurs proches et de leurs aînés. Rendre hommage aux ancêtres est une partie importante de la tradition Songkran.

The holiday is known for its water festival. The main streets are closed to traffic and serve as arenas for water fights. Celebrants, young and old, participate in this tradition by sprinkling water on each other. Traditional parades are held and in some places “Lady Songkran” or “Miss Songkran” is crowned. where competitors are dressed in traditional Thai clothing.

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Today, Thais celebrate the Buddhist New Year for three days, Songkran. Dances, meals and religious traditions, this festival is also the occasion of a huge water fight. #mythology #myth #legend #12April #thailand #songkran