The Joyous Time in Thailand
Story by Kullwadee Sumarlnop
It’s New Year again, the last and perhaps the most joyous time of the year. For many people, December seems to be the month you are most often preoccupied with something else but work. When the date on calendar changes to the first of December, that’s the day you start thinking about your holidays.
In this land of smiles, folks are getting ready to enjoy this year-end long holiday. Like the other two New Year occasions in Thailand – that is, Songkran, the Thai traditional New Year in mid April when people get splashed of water, and the Chinese New Year approximately in early February for Chinese descendants, -- Thai people will take this opportunity to return to their hometowns, spending the valuable time with their loved ones. It is the same tradition many westerners do during Christmas. However, in this part of the world, it is done in the oriental manner.
In a rural area, locals gather together to celebrate by feasting on food, drinking and enjoying folk plays and other fun activities. Some folks might hang out drinking homemade whisky from dusk to dawn. In the mean time, in a more traditional way, elder people will prepare themselves to wake up early to welcome the first day of the brand new year, hoping that it will make a smooth run for the whole year. So they, along with their descendants, will rise before the crack of dawn to prepare tasty foods, which will be offered to monks to mark the auspicious year. After that, they will head to temples near their houses to attend the morning service of monks preaching the sermon and giving blessing.
Back into some crowded cosmopolitans, count down celebrators are predictably going to have fun to their fullest! Certainly, in a never sleeping metropolis like Bangkok, people both Thais and foreigners will flock at landmarks of the city on New Year eve. The Tourism Authority of Thailand organizes the walking streets in front of Central World Plaza all the way through Silom Road and up to Siam Square – another event will be held the platform at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace.
Besides the regular countdown festivities in major attraction sites like Chiang Mai, Phuket or Samui, the Sunrise Delight Festival at the Mekong River’s border provinces is no less interesting! The aforementioned event will be held in the northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani, Amnajcharoen and other provinces along Mekong River. After all, watching the golden glimmer of the bronze sunlight coming up from the horizon of the ancient river might simply be the most joyous activity.