Centuries-old festival

Songkran is a centuries-old festival which marks the beginning of the traditional Thai new year.

Jumbos join tourists to celebrate the Songkran festival on Khao San Road . PATIPAT JANTHONG

From a story in Bangkok Post's "Life" section, published on April 8, 2011

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Centuries-old festival

Songkran is a centuries-old festival which marks the beginning of the traditional Thai new year. It is a unique fun-filled event during which we splash others with water in order to give and request a blessing.

The word "Songkran" is derived from Sanskrit and means "to pass" or "to move into". It implies the moving of the sun, moon and other planets into a new place in the zodiac. People in Burma, Cambodia and Laos organise similar festivals at this time of the year.

Residents of Ubon Ratchathani enjoy Songkran celebrations at Thung Sri Muang in Muang district. TAWEESAK BUTCHAN

Freed from routine work for a few days, Thais have the time to perform various rites designed to show respect to their forebears and senior members of the family. Highlights include sprinkling the hands of their elders with scented water, pouring scented water on Buddha statues and joining in family reunions.

This year, Great Songkran Day falls on April 14 and the designated symbol is Kirini Thewi, a lady who sits on an elephant's back, wears a montha flower behind one ear and has an armlet on her right arm and a gun in her left.

Every region in the country will be celebrating the festival under the common theme of "Love Songkran in Your Home Town". For a list of interesting places in which you can enjoy the splendour of Songkran, click here: http://bit.ly/eUWr7x

century – a period of one hundred years ศตวรรษ
festival – an event that is held to celebrate a particular thing or activity เทศกาล
mark – to celebrate something เพื่อเฉลิมฉลอง
traditional – things (buildings, clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time แบบดั้งเดิม, เป็นประเพณี
unique – very special, unusual or good ที่มีลักษณะพิเศษ  เป็นเอกลักษณ์
blessing – God's help and protection, or a prayer asking for this การให้พร, การสวดให้พร
derive from – to get something from something else ได้มาจาก
imply – to suggest something without saying it directly บอกเป็นนัย, แสดงนัย
planet – a large round object in space that moves around a star (such as the sun) and receives light from it ดาวนพเคราะห์,ดาวเคราะห์
zodiac – an area of the sky through which the sun, moon and most of the planets appear to move, divided into twelve equal parts, each with a name and symbol, and each connected with an exact time of year จักรราศรี
routine – ordinary and not interesting or special; usual and not done for any special reason ตามปกติ
rite – a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one พิธีกรรม (พระราชพิธี)
respect – a feeling of admiration that you have for someone because of their personal qualities, their achievements, or their status, and that you show by treating them in a polite and kind way ความเคารพ, ความนับถือ
forebear – a person in your family who lived a long time ago บรรพบุรุษ
senior – a person who is older than you ผู้อาวุโส
highlight – the most exciting, impressive, or interesting part of an event เหตุการณ์สำคัญ, จุดสำคัญ
sprinkle – to shake small amounts of a liquid or a substance over the surface of something โปรย
elder – an old person ผู้สูงวัย, ผู้อาวุโส, ผู้อายุมาก
scented – having a strong pleasant smell หอมกรุ่น   
statues – human or animal images that are made of stone, wood, metal, etc.
reunion – a situation in which people meet each other again after a period of time when they have been separated การพบกันอีกครั้ง
designated – marked, separated, or given a name for a particular purpose ถูกกำหนด
armlet – a band, usually made of metal, worn around the top of the arm ปลอกแขน, กำไลแขน
common – done or shared by two or more people ที่ร่วมกัน
theme – the main subject of something ใจความสำคัญ, ประเด็นหลัก
splendour – grand and impressive beauty; the beautiful and impressive features or qualities of something, especially a place ความงดงาม


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