Travel Thailand Sonskran Festivat
Introduction
             Songkran Day is traditional New year's Day of Thai people, which believed and have been followed from the ancient time until 1941. when lnternational New year's Day was adopted. It usually falls on April 13-15 every year.
            Songkran festival is our National culture that is splendid and has been impressed by Thai people for along time. Even foreigners have been interested in it and they have been known the Thai Songkran Days festival very well.
             The activities include merit-making such as offering alms to monks, attending a temple for a sermon, sprinkling the important Buddha images, and monks and construction sand pagodas in the temple ground, cleaning temples, paying respect for elders by pouring water over hands and throwing water on one another.
             The pouring of water is performed as a symbol of paying respect to venerated person, however it's the actual practices are varied from region. Particularly, the Songkran in Chiang Mai is not only for local people but also for the rest of the country.
Background 
              There are many academicians who have been given the meaning of Songkran festival such as:
             ­Phraya Anumanrajathon said that songkran tradition is celebrating Thai New Year's Day. It usually begins on 13th April and ends on 15th April every year. On this occasion, there are activities of cleaning house, making-Merit, bathing Buddha images and monks. pouring water on their senior persons and throwing water among friends.
              The word "songkran" comes from Sanskrit word which means move or change place as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac sign from the Pisces to Aries Zodiacs.
               Songkran Day is the traditional New year's Day happening middle April. New the official New Year's Day happens on the 1th January.
               The legend of songkran festival appears on the stone inscription at Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimonmangkalaram (Wat pho) as follows:­
               According to the Myth, at that time, all human beings of the world worshiped Kabilla Phrom, Brahma god who showed people auspices. Kabilla Phrom saw youth Dhammahpala who was a famous person and taught a magic spell to people of the world. The Brahma god engaged with a wise youth Dhammapala in debate. Both agree to take the dispute to agreement for arbitration with understanding that the loser would forfeit his head.
                Kabilla Phrom asked three Dhamma questions to a youth Dhammapala that the first, “where is the zodiacal sign in the morning?” the second,”where is the zodiacal sign in the afternoon?”the third “where is the zodiacal sign in the evening?"
                A Youth Dhammapala could answer them all that" In the morning, the zodiacal sign is at faces because all human beings use water to wash their faces." 
                ln the afternoon, the zodiacal sign is at chests because all human beings use powder and perfume to sprinkle at their chests and in the evening, the zodiacal sign is at the feet because all human beings use water to wash their feet before that they to bed.
               After that Kabilla Phrom called his seven daughters who were the maidservants of lndra. The daughters had come to see their father, Kabilla Phrom said to them that he would cut off his own head to worship Dhammapala. lf his head had touched the earth, the earth would catch fire and burn up; if it had been thrown into the air, it would cause drought. if it had been fallen into the sea, then the sea would dry up.
                So Kabilla Phrom had ordered the seven daughters to bring a golden vessel to receive his head and then he cut off his head and gave to head to his eldest daughter. She carried it in the procession with other gods and goddesses circumambulating around Phrasumeru Mountain and then Kabilla Phrom's head was enshrined in the cave of Grailas Mountain.
                The gods and goddesses have carried Kabilla Phrom's head in the procession to celebrate the Songkran Day, the New Year's Day when 365 days are complete.
                  The seven goddess had carried Kabilla Phrom's head in the procession circumambulating Phra Sumeru Mountain every year and return to heaven.
                  The seven goddesses, who have lived at Phra Sumeru Mountain, eat plant, which is washed seven times in Anodad Pond before eating. 
                 The characteristics of seven goddesses as introduced by Phraya Anumanrajathon are as follows.
                 The first daughter,Doongsa for Sunday,The second daughter Korad for Monday. The third daughter, Raksos for Tuesday.The fourth daughter, Monda for Wednesday.The fifth daughter,  Kirinee for Thursday.The Sixth daughter,Kimida for Friday. The seventh daughter, Mahothon for Saturday.
                 ln Songkran festival,Thai People clean everything e.c the house, the previous year's bad actions,the Buddha statues and one's own spirit. Traditionally, the ceremony was to pour water into the palms of hands in order that bad actions, bad thoughts flow away with the water. lt was away to purify mind.
                 Children show their respect to elders by performing this water ceremony. Also scented water is poured over the shoulder and slowly down the back of the person. White pouring the water in this manner People say good wishes and words of blessing for the coming New Year.
                There is a Songkran parade in each town. Every neighbor decorated a car with a Buddha symbols or local symbols depending on the area until decorated cars gather to the town,main temple to participate to a contest.
                Many decorated cars are shown during the parade. Parade Buddha statuses are settled on cars. People sprinkle holy water on the Buddha statues to purify it. 
                 During the parade, Thai women wear traditional clothes: A Miss Songkran beauty contest is organized. Purification ceremony has become a big splashing game where everybody throws water each other from down to the evening.
                Songkran festival fairs are organized in temples. The fair can happen during the day or the night. People visit temples and make merit. They buy holy water to purify the Buddha statues.
                The Songkran tradition is recognized as a valuable religions custom for the Thai community, society and:
                1. Value for community is to provide the favorable occasion to create unity in the community such as to jointly make merits and to meet each other and to enjoy the entertainment.
                2. Value for society is to.create a good environment for cleaning houses, temple, public places, official buildings, residential areas, bathing the elderly to apologize, to be blessed by them and throwing water among friends.
                 3. Value for religion is to joy religious activities by means of merit, alms offerings in the morning to monks, Dhamma practice, listening to sermon and bathing to the Buddha statues and the monks.

 
       




 

Travel Thailand Loi Krathong Festival
lntroduction 
            When the rivers and canals are full of water, the Loi Krathong festival takes place in all parts of Thailand on the full moon night of the Twelfth Lunar month. People bring bowls made of leaves which contain flowers, candles and incense sticks, and float them in the water.
            The full moon night of the twelfth lunar month usually in mid-November is the time of Loi Krathong festival. Loi Krathong festival is celebrated national-wide in Thailand, especially where there are rivers,canals or sources of water with different characteristics.
             Loi Means to float a Krathong, the leaf cup which is usually made of banana leaf.
             The floating of a Krathong, a banana leaf cup is intended to float away ill fortune as well as to express apologies to Khongkha or Ganga the river goddess.
             Loi Krathong is the name of a festival celebrated annually on the full-moon Day of the twelfth lunar month. When candles and Joss sticks in Krathong were lit and a small coin, fingernails, hair and flowers launched on the river.
Background 
              The ancient lndian people made a Worship Ceremony to Buddha's footprint every year. The ceremony was held around November. ln Thailand, it is said that Loi Krathong Ceremony has been initiated since the Sukothai period in the reign of King Phra Ruang by Noppamat who was the chief royal consort. 
              She was the first one who created a lotus flower Krathong and presented to King Phra Ruang to place it in the river during Floating Lamp Festival. 
              Loi Krathong is an important ceremony, which has been handed down from ancient tradition.
             Loi Krathong was described in the book written by Nang Nophamas, a beautiful and learned lady was of the court of King Phra Ruang. The lady was a daughter of the Brahmin family priest attached to the court. She said that in the twelfth month, the country was flooded and the king and his courts went for a picnic on the river to be witness for people enjoying themselves during the festival at the night.
               Loi Krathong was most probably in the same shape which we see at the present time, for lady, Nophamas told in her book that she had introduced a new kind of Krathong in shape of a big lotus flowers and many other styles for the king to float in the running stream on doubt for his enjoyment.
             She further initiated certain the act of reciting and song to be sung for  the king on the .occasion. Thai people celebrate the Loi Krathong festival for a variety of seasons, depending on the belief of each region. Some of reasons behind the celebration are as follows:
1 . To worship Lord Buddha's footprint.
2 . To give respect to the goddess of water.
3 . To thank the rivers for their bounty and benefit for    mankind.
4.  To request the rivers to forgive the pollution made by man.
5 .To be cleaned from sins and bad luck or avoid misfortune.
6.  To make a wish for things to come true in the future.
Loi Krathong festival Today
             The celebration of Loi Krathong in the present time deserves serious attention. Activities, which are suitable to continue the original tradition, have been summarized:
             Cleaning dirty the rivers and canals.performing good deed giving alms, and listening to sermons. Making Krathong and floating Krathong on the water. organizing Krathong parades, organizing competitions such "the Krathong Contest”  “Miss Nophamas Queen Contest” and floating Krathong competitions. Displaying fireworks and lighting firecrackers. 
             The value of the Loi Krathong festival has a reserve value for the family, the community, social value and religious value.
             1 . Value for the family is to persuade the members of the family to participate the activities such as launching the Krathong on Bank of the river in order to show thankfulness to the water and to thank nature for its benefit to people.
              2. Value for the community is to provide an opportunity for better relations in the community by participation and creatin: Krathong to invole people to impress their creation.
              3. Value for society is to persuade people to improve the environment by cleaning the canals and rivers to collect waste material floating down the waterways.
              4. Religious value is to make strong religious belief. Especially in the North where people float their Krathong to warship the footprint of the lord Buddha.

 
       



 

Travel Thailand BHUDDIST LENT DAY IN THAILAND.
           
         
Buddhist Lent Day mars the beginning of the annual retreat for monks as laid down by Lord Buddha more than twenty-five centuries ago. On that day all monks take a vow to stay in a particular place or temple for three months from the first Day of the Waning moon in the8th Month to the 15th Day of the Waxing Moon in the 11th Month.  It coincides with the rainy season during which the monks are not allowed to stay overnight anywhere else, except in exceptional cases based on reasons granted by Lord Buddha. 
                Buddhist Lent day means the day on which the Buddhist monks take the vow to stay only at one particular place or temple which can shelter them from the sun, storms and rain. 

Significance 
                    
           
For Buddhism and its followers, Buddhist Lent has the following important characteristics :

               1. Buddhist monks who have been travelling from place to place have totake up shelter in a particular place, according to Lord Buddha’s discipline.

               2. Buddhist monks who stay at a particular place for a length of time shall teach young boys who wish to be ordained in order to study the Buddhist Doctrine and preach to lay followers.

               3. During the Buddhist Lent, lay followers refrain from bad actions, in particular drinking alcohol, taking drugs or leading an inappropriate life.

               4. During the Buddhist Lent, laymen acquire merit, observe five or eight precepts, listen to sermons and sit in meditation in temples
 

 
       



 

Travel Thailand The Royal Ploughing Ceremony  In Thailand
 
           
The annual Ploughing Ceremony usually takes place in may every year at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace in Bangkok.  The ceremony has been performed since ancient times and designed to give an auspicious beginning to the new planting season.         In fact, the Ploughing Ceremony is of Brahman origin and it was practised even before the birth of Lord Buddha who, then a Prince, used to take part in the ceremony.  The anupicious day and time are to set by the Royal Brahman astrologers.  Nowadays, although Their Majesties are present at the ceremony, the King no longer takes the leading role,  His Majesty the King appoints the Ploughing Lord as his representation to carry out the rites.  During this colourful ceremony, the amount of rainfall to be expected in the coming season is forecast.  The Ploughing Lord is offered a choice of three lengths of cloth, all looking identical, if his choice is the longest one there will be little rain during the coming year: if it is the shortest one, rain will be plentiful while the one of medium length indicates average rain.After donning the piece of cloth, called  "Panung" , the Plughing Lord then ploughs furrows in Sanam Luang with a sacred plugh of red and gold drawn by sacred white bulls and followed by four consecrated ladies who carry gold and silver baskets filled with rice seed.  Walking alongside the plough are Brahmans who are chanting and blowing conch shells.         When the ploughing is finished the bulls are presented with seven different foods and drink, i.e. rice seed, beans, maize, hays, sesame seed, water and alcoholic liquor.  Whatever the bulls choose to eat or drink, it is forecast that this will be plentiful during the year. After the ceremony has ended, the crowds scramble for the seeds sown by the Ploughing Lord as the seeds are regarded as things that will bring the owners wealth and good luck.  The farmers will mix the seeds with their own rice to ensure a good crop in the coming year.

 
       

  Travel Thailand CHINESE NEW YEAR IN THAILAND.

            The Chinese New Year's Day is said "WAN TRUT CHIN" -  วันตรุษจีน in Thai language.  Chinese New Year festivities last  three days.
         On the day before the Chinese New Year's Day, Thai  Chinese people start to make offerings to gods, their ancestors,  the God of Land and the God of Luck. Offerings  include steamed duck, chicken, pork heads, fresh or canned  fruit, chinese cakes (often with durian) and vegetarian food.  Chinese flowers ("DOOK MAI CHIN" - ดอกไม้จีน) and golden  paper are also offered. Placing a full chicken (representing  prosperity and wholeness) behind mandarin oranges  (representing wealth and good fortune) has a full symbolic  signifiance when setting the diner table for ancestors and the  household spirit.
        The Chinese God of Wealth, Choi Sun, appears during the  Chinese New Year festivities. He is spreading good luck and  handing out red  envelopes ("ANG PAO") as gifts. 
       The best places to enjoy Chinese New Year in Thailand  are Bangkok's chinatown Yawarat district  Nakhorn Sawan  and Phuket. Bangkok's Yawarat district was founded in year  1783.