Written by Administrator
Thursday, 25 March 2010 15:41
No country has more festivals than Thailand
Here is a people who love festivities, and excell at presenting them
with grace, style and fun - all signs of a cultured nation
Thai’s don’t need a special reason to get festive. They are renowned for their
capacity to take pleasure in the moment. The more fun the better. This is the Thai Way.
October’s highlight on Phuket is the Vegetarian Festival. For nine days many
local Chinese test their spiritual strength in bizarre feats that seem to defy
pain – and good sense.
Sapam Shrine, September 28; Jake Ong Shrine and Limhutaisu (Samkong)
September 29; Bantharue Shrine and Sapam Shrine, September 30; Bangneow Shrine
Cherng Talay Shrine, October 1; Juitui Shrine, October 2; Kathu Shrine and
Shrine, October 3; Suiboonthong Shrine and Bangkoo Shrine, October 4.
The colourful, sometimes grotesque Vegetarian Festival is hardly over before
Loy Krathong has ponds and waterways all over the country covered with
flotillas of little banana-leaf vessels carrying flowers, incense sticks and
coins, the lights from their candles describing lovely motifs on the waters.
This festival - time when homage is paid to the Goddess of the Water - is one
of the most affecting in Thailand.
Looking forward to the year to come people float away the troubles of the year
past with their krathong.
Christmas is celebrated here, even though Thailand is a Buddhist country, out
of respect for the occasion. You can find a traditional Christmas feast in any
number of local hotels; though don’t even think about a white Christmas.
Of course Christmas is only the beginning of the holiday season, with New Year
coming hard on its heels. In Thailand New Year comes three times a year. The
first New Year is generally celebrated in Western fashion. But there’s little
more than a month to wait for another New Year, this one more exotic and more a
part of the local culture. Ethnic Chinese constitute a large part of Phuket’s
population, and the Chinese New Year is by far the most important festival of
the year for them. It marks the beginning of the first lunar month and lasts
from three to five days, depending upon how enthusiastic the celebrants get. On
the streets of PhuketTown you’ll see red-paper
banners emblazoned in gold with the Chinese characters for good health, good
luck and prosperity.
From the Chinese New Year it’s only a minor festive occasion or two until the
real Thai New Year. Songkran, the start of the Buddhist year is celebrated
between 13 and l5 April, at the height of the hot season. Translated literally
as “the passing of”, Songkran marks the beginning of the solar calendar.
Water is central to Songkran. Buddha images are washed with lustral water,
while the whole house is given an especially thorough cleaning. The idea is to
start the New Year fresh and clean, both in body and spirit. Most noticeably to
the casual visitor, though, Thais also lay in wait outside to douse each other
(and any passing visitor) with water. The custom of throwing water is probably
just an exuberant spill over of the tradition of pouring lustral water over the
hands of monks and respected elders. More basically, the return of water to the
parched soil is an expression of hope and anticipation, an invitation to the
cooling, life-giving rainy season to come.