สุขสันต์วันสงกรานต์ (pronounced: suk san wan songkran) means “Happy Songkran Day”
A year ago, I arrived in Bangkok, Thailand on the last night of Songkran. When my taxi driver dropped me off at the round about in front of Swenson’s ice cream shop (steps from the famous Khao San Road), almost every person had a water gun, bucket or Super Soaker in hand. The streets resembled the aftermath of a big rainstorm. Puddles everywhere. People walked up and down the streets, soaked from head-to-toe. Everyone was happy, big smiles on their faces. Luggage in hand, I could not retaliate until I dropped off my luggage.
Songkran festival is a multi-day celebration for Thai New Year (April 13 to 15). It is a time for cleansing and renewal. The splashing and tossing of water onto family members and complete strangers serves as a symbol of washing away bad and negatives of the past year away. Talc or chalk is smeared onto the body and faces as a blessing for the new year ahead.
As Songkran is celebrated during one of the hottest month of the year, the water also helps to cool the body down. Daytime temperature in the mid to high 30C (mid 90F) and night time temperature is about low 30C (high 80F).
No one is safe during Songkran. At any moment, a bucket of water can be thrown at you. Even if you are sitting in a car, with the window open. Put your electronics and important documents into waterproof bags!!!
For the reminder of my10-day stay in Thailand, I would see tourists with giant water guns strapped to the side of their backpacks. While others slung their waterproof bags across their back. Fun reminders of their Songkran celebration. I wonder how many people traveled back to their home country with their weapon of choice.
This year, I welcomed Songkran in Toronto with a temperature of 13C (55F). A drastic difference in temperatures. Thanks to the diverse makeup of Toronto, I found an event in downtown Toronto which offered Thai street food and a water fight – in heated tents! My excitement leading up to the event was palpable. My friends who enjoyed Songkran in Chiang Mai wanted to relive the fun. Last night we filled our bellies, laughed, ran about with water guns and came home soaking wet!
Khanom buaing are sweet thin wafers are folded with meringue and threads of candied egg yolk. I remember finding these on the streets of Bangkok and trying them for the first time. Seeing them again in Toronto brought back sweet memories!
สวัสดีปีใหม่ (pronounced: sawatdi pi mai), or basically “Happy New Year”!