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New Year's Day festival customs in different countries

http://www.chinese.cn 10:01, December 28, 2010 Confucius Institute Online

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Traditional Thai New Year, or "Songkran" ("Songkran" is the transliteration from Sanskrit), is also known as "Water-Splashing" and lasts from April 13 to April 16. During the festival, a huge Buddha statue is carried by people or a vehicle in a parade, followed by a fleet of floats. A womandressed up as the "Songkran Goddess" stands on the vehicle. Groups of young men and women dressed in colorful National costume beat drums, singing and dancing. Men and women follow the floats, parading along the street, splashing water soaking palm leaves in silver bowls onto the Buddha and the "Songkran Goddess", praying for happiness and good weather in the New Year. Then people splash water onto each other, praying for health and longevity for the elderly folk, and wishing a lucky New Year for friends and relatives. The unmarried young men and women express mutual affection by splashing water to each other. The Thais put a pot of clean water on the windowsill or beside the door on the New Year's Day. Every household goes to the outskirts of the cities to take the New Year bath in a river or a creek. To celebrate the New Year, the Thais hold large-sized "elephant competition" covering: tug of war between people and elephants, jumping on an elephant to pick up things, an elephant striding over a man, elephant football game, and ancient-styled performance of elephant arrays. All the performances are wonderful and very interesting.

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