Stamford Songkran 2018
Welcome to Stamford’s Songkran festivities!
While many know the festival as simply a massive water fight, Songkran actually has a long history steeped in tradition. The word Songkran comes from the Sanskrit and literally means ‘astrological passage’. It marks the end and beginning of a new year. In ancient times, the festival varied according to the solar and lunar calendar but these days it is a fixed event from the 13th to 15th April.
The association of water with Songkran has numerous meanings. Water is used as a symbol for cleansing and purifying the ills and misfortunes of the previous year, wiping the slate clean for the future. It is also a symbol for fertility and used traditionally by Thai people to bring on the rains for rice cultivation and a successful harvest. Getting a bucket of water in your face during Songkran is also, apparently, a sign of good luck.
Apart from the well-known mayhem of water pistols fights, Songkran is a time for thanksgiving, reflection and merit making. Family is important in Thai culture and never more so than during Songkran, when most people will return home for family reunions and gatherings. People take part in traditions such as gently pouring water over the hands of elders and other important persons, and many towns and cities hold dances and parades.
Today we celebrated these differing aspects of Songkran, organized by students and staff members. First we participated in a water blessing ceremony where students paid respect to the lecturers, deans and our CEO by pouring the water over their hands while they wished us a happy prosperous year, followed by a display of traditional Thai dancing by students, instrumental music by Stamford staff members and songs from our student band. For many international students and exchange students at Stamford, this is their first Songkran in Thailand, so they learned about this annual amazing cultural festival.
And last but not least, we took out water pistols and enjoyed the fun part of Songkran, — getting soaked in water flights!