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The true meaning of Songkran in Chiang Mai
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  1. #1
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    The true meaning of Songkran in Chiang Mai

    Songkran Volunteers learn more than they expected A new understanding of the true meaning of the Thai New Year
    Thai and foreign voluteers learn about Songkran traditions.
    CMM Reporters
    Over 100 people, both foreign residents and Thais, all of whom had expressed an interest in volunteering their services during the Songkran festival, were invited to a workshop on April 5, held at the Lanna Wisdom School. Chiang Mai’s Mayor, Dr Duentemduang na Chiengmai had previously asked for volunteers to help with her ‘safe and polite’ Songkran, in the hope that at least part of the festival would be able to return to its more traditional ways.



    The aims of the workshop, organised by the Chiang Mai Friends’ Group, were threefold, firstly to introduce the volunteers, many of whom were from local colleges, to each other, secondly, to explain their duties, and, thirdly, to teach them about the reasons behind the traditions and ceremonies linked with the Songkran New Year celebrations. The volunteers were also taught how to prepare flower trays for a decorating ceremony, and how to make Tung or Northern flags for placing in the sand pagoda. They learned what ingredients are considered “lucky food” at this time, and what offerings should be made to their elders in order to show respect and gratitude.


    In addition, they were taught that each of the three days of Songkran has a special name and meaning. April 13, the beginning of the festival, is called Wan Sang Khan Long. Northern Thais believe that on this day they should clean their houses, wear only new clothes, and pray that bad luck and karma resulting from bad deeds during the previous year will not follow them in to the New Year. On the next day of the celebrations, April 14, people should only speak positively and pleasantly; if they become angry or unpleasant, bad luck will follow them throughout the New Year. April 15, the last day of the festival, is called Wan Paya Wan, “The Great Day”, during which all people should pray, make merit to their ancestors, and visit their elder relatives in order to ask for forgiveness and blessings for the New Year.


    All the volunteers, both foreign residents and Thais, enjoyed the workshop a great deal, and came away with a new and far greater understanding of the true and traditional meaning of Songkran. For more information on the activities of the Chiang Mai Friends’ Group, please email on info@ retireinchiangmai.com.


    Chiangmai Mail

  2. #2
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    Re: The true meaning of Songkran in Chiang Mai

    Kuhn Don,
    Is the Chiang Mai Friends' Group Quaker, as in "The Religious Society of Friends"?

    I enjoyed reading this and I'm glad to see I can email it.
    Thanks.

  3. #3
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    Re: The true meaning of Songkran in Chiang Mai

    Quote Originally Posted by Susana View Post
    Kuhn Don,
    Is the Chiang Mai Friends' Group Quaker, as in "The Religious Society of Friends"?

    I enjoyed reading this and I'm glad to see I can email it.

    Thanks.

    I would think that would be unlikely-I think it is just a general ex-pats group.

  4. #4
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    Re: The true meaning of Songkran in Chiang Mai

    I heard rumours that there is a Quaker or Mennonite community near Chiang Mai but I couldn't figure out anything specific when I tried.

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