Thai New Year is upon us again and Songkran festivities are in full swing at ISS!
Songkran is the most widely celebrated festival in the Kingdom of Thailand. It marks the Buddhist New Year on April 15th. The event is always a bewildering but glorious fusion of respectful religious faith, aquatic madness and unity.
The word Songkran literally translates to: ‘transformation’ or ‘change’, and is celebrated by blessing other people with water. This has now been modernized in the form of ‘water fights’, and is not dissimilar to a celebration such as Christmas or New Year in the West, where the importance of the family and family gatherings are at the forefront of the celebration.
It is celebrated throughout the Kingdom with communities hosting traditional ceremonies, where monks pray for the residents wishing all good luck in their lives. Traditionally the youngest members of the community would bestow their elders with wreaths to receive their blessing.
Students, teachers and parents at the International School of Samui engage fully in these celebrations. On Thursday 4th April 2019, the penultimate day of the term, we regaled in a wonderful cultural show hosted by the school’s Thai department with students taking an active part and giving each student the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of Thai culture throughout this creative and focused day.
Students came to school wearing Thai dress for the festivities and for some the elaborate dressing-up and make-up started before dawn. The opening ceremony of Songkran at ISS began at 9am which involved the traditional merit-making ceremony where students bless their teachers and parents. Furthermore, a water blessing involving all primary students, parents and teachers.
The show came to a close with the Primary and Senior students taking part in the ‘Miss Songkran’ pageant. We learnt about the history and legend of the Songkran festival with a focus on the educational concept of: ‘Knowing the legend, conserve the culture.’
The parade ended with a special dance performance by Nongyhok and Leo (both from year 5) and introduced by Micah (year 3) who is a phenomenal dancer. Nongyhok represented the final and probably the most important Miss Songkran, Sunday (Tungsatevee). She came in style with a garuda led by Leonardo.
Following the parade, students competed in some traditional Thai activities, including a sack race and a 3-6 leg running race! The youngest members of the school were not forgotten and participated in their own fun and learning as they enjoyed the traditional water blessing ceremony and some games in their playground surrounded by their parents and teachers.
The “pièce de resistance” was definitely the water fight in the school grounds where young and old, students and teachers, staff and parents are not shy to throw water at each other until the school tanks run dry! Senior School had their very own ‘pool party’, with water guns, buckets, music and a fantastic barbeque, organized by Mr Campbell.
The Songkran celebrations were very enjoyable for all and we wish you all a very happy Songkran for next week.