Songkran brings a splashing good time

Fun in the sun: People splashing water at one another during the Songkran celebration at the Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple in Burma Lane.

GEORGE TOWN: Armed with water guns, blasters and soakers, hundreds of people had a splashing good time at the annual Songkran festival at Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple in Burma Lane here.

The water festival, which marks the beginning of the Thai new year, saw devotees and people from all walks of life swarming the temple to join in the celebration.

Temple adviser Prof Datuk Dr Proom Promwichit said the celebration was an important event in the Buddhist calendar.

“Songkran has been observed since it was celebrated by Theravada Buddhists thousands of years ago.“In the past, it was also a significant event for padi farmers and farm owners, as the act of splashing water was a way for them to celebrate after harvesting their crops,” he said after the launch of the celebration at the temple yesterday.“Now, people everywhere join in the celebration which is seen as a cleansing and purifying ritual alongside the Thais, making it a widely known festival globally.”

Among the revellers were a mother and her nine-year-old son, who donned a Spider-Man costume.

“This is great fun, especially for my son as he enjoyed playing with the crowd,” said the 40-year-old woman, who wanted to be known only as Ng.At the temple, devotees also joined the Pali chanting and prayer sessions with the monks before lining up to bathe Buddha statues with scented floral water for blessings to start a new year.


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