Buddha Sri Hing parade, Chiang Mai icon.
Celebration of the Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai again
attracted huge crowds of tourists from all around Thailand and the world.
The city has weaved its magic with the mixture of merit making in Lanna
style with water splashing on every street and soi in the city, and
especially around the city canal.
Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor together with leaders in government service,
MPs, mayor in the ritual bathing of Buddha parade.
One of the most important of these was a merit making
ceremony to mark the occasion of the 710 year anniversary of the founding of
Chiang Mai on April 12. The following day, there was the ceremony for “Pa
We Nee Pee Mai Muang 2006” (Local New Year 2006) at Thapae Gate. In the
morning, 111 monks made their round.
Also, there was Kad Mua “mixed market”, local music
performed on Sa Lor, Sor, Sueng (Names of local music instruments; and a
contest to choose Miss Songkran, “Mae Ying Kee Rod Teeb Kang Jong” (Miss
Songkran riding a bicycle holding an umbrella).
Mai Governor receives his water splashes.
In the afternoon, there was a parade of important images
of Buddha from 50 temples in Chiang Mai on which local people ritually
sprinkled the images with water to bring good luck. This parade was led by
Pra Buddha Si Hing, starting from Chiang Mai Railway Station, passing
Nawarat Bridge, entering Thapae Road and then terminating at Wat Phra Singh.
This parade occurs only once a year at the time of Songkran.
This was followed by the ceremony of “Khon Sai Khao
Wat” (Bringing sand into the temple) and “Mai Kham Salee” parade (a
parade of papal struts) to many temples on Thapae Road according to ancient
couples enjoy splashing water from the back of a pick-up truck.
On the last day, April 15, there was a parade of
government organizations, private sectors, academics, universities,
housewives groups, and people from all over Chiang Mai. The parade started
from in front of Three Kings Statue, reaching governor’s residence on
There are many traditions which descended from the past;
such as Songkran, Lai Sang Khan Ceremony (a ceremony of chasing bad things),
Khon Sai Khao Wat (Bringing sand into the temple), the ritual bathing of the
Buddha images, Taeng Da tradition, Tarn Tung Sand Pagodas, releasing birds
and fish, Dum Hua (a tradition of paying respect to elder people), and city
tourists take a quick break from the water wars.
In Songkran, the first day is called “Wan Sang Khan
Lhong”, the second day is called “Wan Nao”, and the third day is
called “Wan Tha Lerng Sok” or “Wan Pha Ya Wan” which is New Year’s
For the first day, Sang Khan Lhong, there are gun shots
or firecrackers throughout the night to ward off bad and evil. On this day,
people clean their houses, wash their hair, cleanse their bodies, and dress
with new clothes.
mask merchant did brisk business during the Songkran Festival.
On the second day, Wan Nao, people transfer sand to the
temples to build sand pagodas. This day is considered to be a very important
day on which we should never do anything which is inauspicious, and we
should never insult or argue with anyone. People also buy food and gifts on
Wan Nao to prepare for making merit.
The next day, Pha Ya Wan, people make merit, dedicate merit to their
relatives who have passed away, take flowers and “Tung” to make sand
pagodas, and bring struts to hold up papal trees. In other places, people
take holy water, called “Nam Som Poi” (a holy water which contains
jasmine and flowers) in silver bowls to pay respect to older people such as
fathers, mothers, teachers and people whom we respect. This is one of the
many traditions which live on with Chiang Mai and Lanna people. Although
time and modern technologies have important roles in our lives, they can
never take the place of old tradition and beliefs.
people participated in the ritual bathing of Buddha at different temples
throughout Chiang Mai.
women in local dresses, shaded by their umbrellas, were a featured
attraction in the parade.
enjoy being soaked on modified Tuk-Tuk.
foreigner gets soaked.