These are some of the pictures of the Songkran activities that I will be joining in Samut Prakan this week. As you can see there is a lot going on during the traditional Thai new year and not all of them are to do with water throwing! Though, of course, water fights are the most fun AND the most difficult to photograph. The first main activity took place yesterday which was the Songkran Parade through town. I have already shown you some pictures of that.
On the morning of 13th April, local people in Samut Prakan will be going to the city pillar here at 7.30 a.m. to make merit by giving alms to monks, and pouring rose scented water over Buddha images and the hands of elders.
One of my favourite places to go during Songkran is Ancient Siam (Muang Boran). They have quite a few cultural activities going on this week and I will be going there to take pictures.
Another place with activities is The Erawan Museum, the home to the giant three-headed elephant. I hear also that the weekend floating market at Bang Nampheung will open specially this weekend for Songkran activities. So, I will probably go and check them out.
Another event for Songkran not experienced by many foreigners is “chedi sai”. This is where the local people come to their local temple to build sandcastles and take part in competitions. According to tradition, they are bringing sand back to the temples that they may have inadvertently carried out on the bottom of their shoes. But, these days the sand is provided by the temples.
Another interesting event at temples this week is called “song nam phra” which is basically pouring water over the monks! Really you should be gentle with them.
On Friday 16th April, in Phra Pradaeng, there will be a Miss Songkran Beauty Contest in the evening. A highlight of my week and an opportunity to get some good pictures!
The best Songkran Parade in Thailand is undoubtedly at Phra Pradaeng on the afternoon of 18th April. Very popular with local people and tourists. If you go, then as a foreigner, you will certainly be in a small minority. But, be careful, you will sure to get very wet! I will definitely be there.
At the end of the Songkran Parade they release birds and fishes at a local temple which is definately a great photo opportunity not to missed! I will be blogging and tweeting about all these events live this week on my moblog at www.MyThailandBlog.com and my twitter account @RichardBarrow. Also visit www.paknam.com where there are many more pictures, notes and maps for all these events. Have fun and a safe Songkran 2010!