2012 Thai New Year is known as the Songkran festival which means astrological passage. Thailand celebrates New Year in a very traditional way from 13th April to 15th April, every year. South and Southeast Asia also celebrates New Year as per the Thai calendar. The date was originally calculated as per astrological calculation. But with time the date got fixed. The 2012 Thai New Year will be celebrated during the weekend like every year. The New Year in Thailand falls during the summer month, right after the dry season. This day is considered to be a National holiday. Songkran festival is been celebrated since ages and the tradition of this festival is maintained. History says that the Thai New Year celebration and tradition has been influenced by the Indian culture. The Northern city of Chiang Mai celebrates the New Year for six continuous days.
The main attraction of the Thai New Year
2012 Thai New Year will be incomplete without the water game. As a part of the New Year celebration the Thais throw water at each other and get drenched in the streets and roads. At times they mix mentholated talc in the water. Water guns are vital for this occasion. The game was never played initially. However, this has been a recently added fun in the New Year celebration.
Earlier the Thai New Year was all about meeting and spending time with near and dear ones. During the New Year time people from the Thai community visit the Buddhist monasteries to pray and they also distribute food to the monks.
Cleaning Buddha during New Year
New Year time is a time for cleaning. In people from Thailand clean their house entirely. Cleaning the Buddha is also an important tradition during New Year. The Thais wash the idol of the Buddha with water and fragrance. This practice is considered to be auspicious. This brings good luck and prosperity in the household. From this tradition the water game has been introduced in the Thai culture.
New Year greetings in Thailand
During New Year the people from Thailand wish each other a Happy New Year in their own style which says sa-wat-di pi mai. Adding to it they also wish suk-san wan Songkran which means Happy Songkran.
Special food during the New Year
2012 Thai New Year will be the time for special food. The Khao Chae is a rice dish and Gaeng Kiew Wahn Gai is a Chicken in green curry is must for the New Year in Thailand. The sticky rice and the pyramid shaped dessert are made too. The festival gets meaningless without the coconut pancake. Few other dishes made during the New Year are:
Chok - a rice porridge commonly eaten in Thailand for breakfast. Similar to the rice congee eaten in other parts of Asia.
Khao khai chiao - an omelet (khai chiao) with white rice eaten with a chili sauce and few slices of cucumber.
Khao tom - Thai style rice soup eaten with pork, chicken or shrimp.
Khao khluk kapi - Rice stir-fried with shrimp paste which is served with sweetened pork and vegetables.
Khao phat American – An American fried rice found only in Thailand.
Khao phat kai - fried rice with chicken.
Khao phat moo - fried rice with pork.
Khao phat poo - fried rice with crab meat.
Khao phat koong - fried rice with shrimp.
Khao phat naem - fried rice with fermented sausage, a typically dish from the Northeast)
Khao soi - crispy wheat noodles in sweet chicken curry soup (a Northern dish).
Chaokuai - grass jelly is often served with only shaved ice and brown sugar.
Khanom bua loi – taro root mixed with flour into balls in coconut milk.
Khanom chan – multi-layers of pandan-flavored sticky rice flour mixed with coconut milk.