Songkran 2019

Songkran in rural Thailand is much different than the “Largest Water Fight in the World” as it is billed in Bangkok. I think it is way better, has more meaning and is actually more fun.

But, first things first, many of my friends asked “What is Songkran?” Simply put, it is Thai new year. This is where it gets a little more complicated. Thais do celebrate western new year on January 1st, just like the rest of the world, but there is also the traditional Thai new year, called Songkran, which follows a lunar cycle and therefore the dates change slightly each year. Songkran has become very comercial in the larger cities of Thailand, and is heavily promoted as a means to attract tourists. Where I live in rural Thailand Songkran is a time of renewal, a very spiritual time, a time for families to get together a time of praying for a healthy and prosperous new year.

As a photographer, doing documentary work, I prefer photographing the rural way of life, as opposed to what is promoted to attract tourists, so I find making images of local Songkran events very satisfying.

Local Thais dancing in a procession around the ordination hall. Talc mixed with water called din sor pong is put on the faces of friends as a blessing.
Local Thais dancing in a procession around the ordination hall. Talc mixed with water called din sor pong is put on the faces of friends as a blessing.
Thais dance in a procession circling the temple ordination hall 3 times.
Thais dance in a procession circling the temple ordination hall 3 times.

The highlight of our rural Songkran celebration is the day a water blessing is given to monks at the local temple.

A local man gives a water blessing to a monk. This will make merit for both the monk and the man.
A local man gives a water blessing to a monk. This will make merit for both the monk and the man.
The monks are given a blessing first then village elders are also given a water blessing.
The monks are given a blessing first then village elders are also given a water blessing.

The local Songkran festivities include good food, and great times. If you happen to be in Thailand during Songkran, I encourage you to visit a small local community as part of your trip, so you can get a taste of “real” or at least a more traditional Songkran.

The rest of my images are on my website. Click the link below to view the entire album. http://www.leecraker.com/Songkran2019/

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