Friday, April 26, 2019

Songkran: Happy Buddhist New Year! (4/28)

Ashley Wells, Crystal Q., Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly;
Western tourists love super-welcoming Thailand, the jewel of Buddhist Southeast Asia.
What's a Spring Festival without some innocent water splashing? Have fun Thai style.
Songkran New Year Festival
The Buddha, Sukhothai, Thailand
Thailand follows the oldest form of Buddhism, called Theravada or the "Teaching of the Elders," the "elders" (theras) being the enlightened direct disciples of the historical Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, often referred to as Shakyamuni, the "Sage (muni) of the Shakyians (Scythians)."

The Thai New Year coincides with the arrival of spring -- as in most parts of the world for most of history, including the West -- and Songkran celebrates goodwill, love, compassion, and thankfulness.

Why is it called "Songkran"?
Songkran 2019 (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)
(Wiki) The term Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit saṅkrānti. It refers to the traditional New Year celebrated in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Sri Lanka, parts of Northeast India, parts of Vietnam, and Xishuangbanna, China. It begins when the sun transits the constellation of Aries, the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, as reckoned by sidereal astrology. It is related to the equivalent Hindu calendar-based New Year festivals in most parts of South Asia, which are collectively referred to as Mesha Sankranti. More

Thai Town, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Remember to throw lots of water at people. It won't be Songkran unless it's very wet.
The Thai festivities celebrated at Los Angeles' Wat Thai included a water blessing at the Buddha statue by Buddhist monks and nuns, as well as chanting, building sand pagodas and castles, classical Thai music, prayers, dance, arts and crafts -- and, of course, Thai food. It was earlier this month at the large Thai Buddhist temple in North Hollywood. Sunday's celebration in Hollywood's Thai Town will be much, much bigger. It will be a mile long:
  • Please come.
    Songkran Festival/Thai New Year (FREE)
  • Sunday, April 28, 8:00 AM-8:00 PM
  • Hollywood Blvd. between Normandie
  • and Western Ave., in East Hollywood
A one-mile stretch of L.A.'s Thai Town will be closed off to traffic for the 14th Annual Songkran Festival. The day features a parade starting at 10:00 am, Muay Thai boxing, a beauty pageant, folk dancing, live jazz, and cultural demonstrations. Lots of Thai foods will be available from local restaurants and food trucks. More

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