My name is Jariya, my home country is Thailand, in Southeast Asia where it has hot, rainy and cool seasons. Thailand is the world’s 50th largest country in land mass at 514,000 km², it is an agricultural country, the main occupation is farming and one of our main export products is rice. In Thailand, the dominant religion is Buddhism and the official language is Thai.
Thailand has many festivals, some of the most important festivals are water festivals, which include Songkran Festival and Loykratong Festival.
Songkran Festival starts on 13 April and lasts between 3 and 7 days, depending on each province. In the old days it was known as the Thai New Year, but nowadays we celebrate the New Year on 1January. The Thai people celebrate this festival with water, in the morning most people go to a temple to make merit (take food to monks and pray for our dead relatives) and make sand sculptures. During the afternoon they bathe the Buddha images and young people pour scented water into the hands of elders as a mark of respect while they are blessing them with excellent health and happiness. Afterwards everyone has a fun time throwing water on each other until they are soaking wet.
Loykratong Festival is on a full moon in November. Thai people believe in many Gods, one of them is the God of water, “Kong Ka”, who takes care of water. We pray to Kong Ka and apologise for polluting the water. At night time, after the sunset, we take our boats that we have made from leaves and decorated with flowers, candles and food, and then we place them into the river. When all the boats are sailing down the river, it’s a very beautiful sight, it looks like the twinkling of stars in the sky and the full moon is very bright, reflecting on the water. All makes a very beautiful picture.
Water festivals concern religious beliefs and Thai family traditions. We enjoy passing these traditions on to our children and grandchildren, and hopefully one day everyone from all around the world will be able to join in and enjoy our water festivals.
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