Songkran Festival in mid April
In Thailand, as also in the Dai People communities of Southern China [ where the Tai originated from ], the Tai Lao in Laos,and the Buddhist communities in Cambodia and Myanmar, the Calender New Year is occassioned between 13 and 15 April each year. The Thai use a lunisolar calendar [ both the Sun rotation and the moon phase rotation ] and the date was fixed on a solar calculation. The word ” Songkran ” is derived from the Indian sancript word ” Sankanta ” which means ” a change or move ”. The dates are now fixed arbitarily but originally would move with the move of the sun on the vernal equinox. This occured as a consequence of ” precession ” and the tilt of the earth and the effect of its orbit. Over the past the dates have changed but are now fixed irrespective of the original rationale and what would otherwise be the astrological calculation. From a natural perspective the dates also signal the end of the dry season.
Loy Krathong Festival
Loy Krathong Festival is celebrated in all of Thailand in November. Loy Krathong celebrates the end of the rainy season which is also the full moon of the 12 th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar. Loy or Loi means to float and Krathong or Kratong means a raft the sive of ones open hand. The point of the festival is to prepare and then float at full moon down a stream, river or other water water, an elaborately prepared offering on the raft to be released and float away by water to release with it as a symbolic gester, ones bad feelings, anger, stress and grievances.
The festival has its beginnings in the Indianisation process of South East Asia and an original Brahmanical festival from Northern India. Many Thais also accept natural forces as spirits or ” gods ” and the floating of the Krathong is symbolic gesture to the Goddess of water, Phra Mae Khongkha. The Thais proclaim the festival originated in Thailand at Sukhothai at the time of the Sukhothai Kingdom, but here then also Indian and Brahmanical influences with powerful.
The Bai Sri is a blessing ceremony performed to bestow happiness and prosperity to a person or place. The ceremony features a beautifully-shaped ornament called a khrueng bai sri ton, made of elaborately-folded banana leaves. A container is beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and banana leaves, It is often used during auspicious ceremonies. The popular forms of the Bai Sri offerings are the Bai Sri Pak Cham and Bai Sri Yai.
Bai Sri Pak Cham is small and looks like a bowl. A section of banana trunk can be used to make this form of Bai Sri, which is often used in a ceremony to worship deities and in a ceremony to pay homage to teachers. Bai Sri Yai is generally used in significant events, such as a royal ceremony to strengthen the royal Khwan. According to ancient traditions, a nine-tier Bai Sri is for the King and the Queen, a seven-tier Bai Sri is for a prince or a princess, a five-tier Bai Sri is for the royal guest with the status of a president, a three-tier Bai Sri is for a minister or for use in the wedding of a royal grandchild.
Bai Sri rituals are often performed in Chiang Mai. Thai people preserve this rite as a legacy for future generations. You will find different kinds of Bai Sri Pak Cham at Tom Lamyai Flower Market, Vichayanun rd, Chiang Mai.