Thailand Thoughts

The Bangkok diaries: Happy Songkran!

If everything had turned out as planned, i would have returned to Bangkok this weekend anyways. Because it is Songkran, the Thai New Year's national holiday. But yeah, life is full of surprises!

Songkran is the Thai New Year’s national holiday. It is on the 13 April every year, but the holiday period extends from 14 to 15 April. The word “Songkran” comes from a Sanskrit word, literally “astrological passage”, meaning transformation or change.

The Songkran celebration is rich with symbolic traditions. Mornings begin with merit-making. Visiting local temples and offering food to the Buddhist monks is commonly practiced. On this specific occasion, performing water pouring on Buddha statues and the young and elderly is a traditional ritual on this holiday. It represents purification and the washing away of one’s sins and bad luck. As a festival of unity, people who have moved away usually return home to their loved ones and elders. Paying reverence to ancestors is an important part of Songkran tradition.

The holiday is known for its water festival. Major streets are closed to traffic, and are used as arenas for water fights. Celebrants, young and old, participate in this tradition by splashing water on each other. (from Wikipedia)

That was actually the part of the celebration which i was looking for so much. Since i heard about this tradition around 4 years ago, i always wanted to take part in this happening. But of course, this year everything is different here. The celebration and even the holiday is cancelled and the regional province authority also banned selling alcohol within the next 10 days.

And instead of walking through the streets of Bangkok with thousands of people, equipped with a mega water gun, i’m just laying here at the hotel pool. So at least i can enjoy the wet element in that way…

In this sense the original meaning of Songkran, “transformation” or “change”, is quite accurate, as my travel plans are also constantly under change.

There are many things and places that i wanted to do or visit on this trip, but for some reason didn’t work out (…like being in Japan for Sakura or visiting Halong Bay in Vietnam, to name just 2 of them). For a variety of reasons it didnt happen, not just because of Covid-19. But in the same way i have seen places and experienced things, that i never thought of or that i would never have thought possible.

Life, and such a long journey is nothing else than life, is not a simple To-Do list, where you check things off one by one. You just have to take them as they come, that’s something I’ve learned on this trip so far. And even if i love To-Do lists, you always have to be open to new things and say goodbye to some other plan or point. Just because you cannot do something at this moment, doesn’t mean that you can never do it again.

So maybe i will join Songkran-festival next year and maybe it will be even better than it could have ever been this year. Who knows? ­čÖé

2 comments on “The Bangkok diaries: Happy Songkran!

  1. thomas wildfeuer

    Hallo Thomas,
    jetzt lebst Du im Bangkoker Alltag auch schon wieder geraume Zeit. Sind vor Ort eigentlich noch weitere Langzeittouristen, so wie Du und siehst oder triffst Du auch europ├Ąische Residenten dort, die geblieben sind?
    Hat sich denn die Szene, die eigentlich sonst nachtaktiv ist auf den Tag verlagert, oder ist mittlerweile auch bei Euch Kontaktverbot angesagt? Wirst Du ├╝ber den Mai hinaus in Bangkok bleiben?
    Bei uns hier in Deutschland gibt es in Bezug auf Bayern erste Lockerungen, in Sachsen ist Maskenpflicht im ├ľPNV und den Gesch├Ąften eingef├╝hrt worden, der Tourismus ist europaweit so ziemlich zum Erliegen gekommen und die Branche fragt sich, wie es wohl weitergehen wird?
    Es herrscht momentan eine tr├╝gerische Ruhe!
    Gr├╝├če aus ┬╗good old Germany┬ź
    Thomas

    • Hi Thomas! Ja, mittlerweile f├╝hle ich mich schon wie ein Einheimischer, lol. Aber es gibt hier noch viele Langzeittouristen und Expats, von daher f├╝hle ich mich ganz gut aufgehoben. Wie es weitergeht kann ich noch ├╝berhaupt nicht sagen, bis Ende des Monats gibt es auf jeden Fall keine regul├Ąren Fl├╝ge irgendwohin, von daher… abwarten und Tee trinken ­čÖé
      Ich bin tats├Ąchlich gespannt welche Auswirkungen das Ganze langfristig auf den Tourismus haben wird, auch wie die Touristik im ADAC jetzt reagieren wird bzw. muss.
      Viele Gr├╝├če zur├╝ck! T.

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