The Bihu of Bangkok

Talk about the new years all over Asia: The northeast and southeast Asian culture is so in sync at times, it’s amazing.

Now while in Assam, the week-long celebrations of the Assamese New Year or Rongali Bihu come to an end in tandem with the Thai New Year or Songkran festivities.songkran

Both festivals are celebrated in urban and rural settings.

In Assam as well as in Thailand, family bonding is paramount. Youngsters in the family pay obeisance to elders.

During Songkran, young members in the family pour perfumed water into the palms of their elders, asking for blessings in return.

Both Bihu and Songkran mark the sun re-entering the constellation of Aries and completion of its orbit around the earth on April 13.

Songkran is a three-day water festival that signifies cleansing of bad influences over the past year and the celebrations stretch over a week. Bihu heralds the beginning of spring with nature in its full splendour. Now north Indians would like to compare Songkran with Holi, but Holi is all about getting messy with colours, ain’t it?

The week-long Songkran celebrations, which began last Sunday, continued throughout the week. Thais and non-Thais, clad in traditional floral shirts, embraced the occasion with water splashing and paying respects to elders in their families.

Bangkok offers a more urban approach towards the festival. The entire city wears a festive look and offices remain close for the entire week. It is difficult to remain outside the partying crowd on the streets. Bangkok’s Silom Road was shut down for three days for thousands of party revellers. Khau San Road, another popular street, resembled an open air dance floor.

In the northern province of Chiangmai, the merry mood was omnipresent but quite different from Bangkok where the gathering was in thousands. Though the festive approach is a bit more traditional there, the party mood was clear. Here, the celebrations are more of religious activities and fun-filled water wars.

Songkran is more traditional in the rural areas of Thailand. There, people still adhere to family reunion and bonding with special regards for the elders. For young Thais, Songkran is all about new aspirations, positive changes and new opportunities.

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Posted by on April 20, 2015. Filed under Assam,Breaking News,NORTH EAST. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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