Tonight is bituun so the home is cleaned and now the belly is full. Tomorrow is Tsagaan Sar (Цагаан сар) for Mongolians, the White Month. So, to my Mongolian friends – I hope you have a happy Tsagaan Sar.
This year it also coincides (well, is one day different really) with the Lunar New Year celebrated across the rest of Asia. So, to my Korean friends – 새해 복 많이 받으세요.
And to my Chinese friends – 新年快樂 or for those who are Cantonese, 恭喜發財 (did I get that right Pauline?).
Prosperity, peace and happiness for all in the year of the Tiger.
It was the 13th of April for 4 days. Songkran is Thai New Year and I was lucky to be here this time. In the past I have managed to pass through Thailand a few days before but never had the chance to stay here for it.
Songkran (สงกรานต) is the New Year in the Thai Buddhist Calendar. This Songkran marked the change from the year 2449 to 2550. The Thai solar calendar, Suriyakati (Thai: สุริยคติ) is based around the Buddhist Era and traditionally New Year is that period 13 to 16 April. However, in 1941 the then Thai Prime Minister aligned the Western and Thai New Years so that from 1941 onwards, adding 543 to the Western year will indicate the Thai Year. Prior to 1941, the Thai year number changed each Songkran. Now, the year number changes on 1 January with the western year change, but the Thai’s still celebrate Songkran at the traditional time.
It was terrific. So much celebration, happiness and fun. The greatest part of the day consists of being drenched in water and having powder patted onto your wet face and head, no matter where you go. If you are here for Songkran, just assume that when you go outside over those four days that you will be drenched in water. Leave mobile phones and cameras in your room or wrap them securely in plastic (or put them in a water-proof housing).
I really can say that I had such a fun time over Songkran. There was not an unhappy face I saw anywhere.
I’ll add a picture to this entry later when I get hold of them – it is of yours truly after arriving back in the hotel from the day out at Songkran.
I forgot – over a week ago it was New Year for the Kazakh folks that live in the west of Mongolia (and, I guess, in Uigur A.R. in China and in Kazakhstan). The New Year holiday in the west of Mongolia is known as Nauriz Kozhe (I think) and it occurs in March each year. It is, according to some, an Islamic Holiday (how come I missed it sitting here in Saudi Arabia?) and it marks the changing of the year. Nauriz is, however, the Persian word for New Year so maybe that is why I have not run across it in the Middle East.
So, Happy New Year guys … and the next one coming up is the Thai New Year, Songkran, which occurs around 14 to 17 April in Thailand. More about that later.
Now, if Asel or Ascar is reading this, please, drop me a line and let me know what happens in Kazakhstan around this time. I was in Kazakhstan in March 2005 but I do not recall this holiday. Maybe I left just before it happens.
Kazakhstan has apparently been celebrating Nauryz Holiday falling on 22 March since gaining its independence. The holiday is a celebration of the return of Spring.
Now I wonder if anyone managed to lift the Ox this year?