Happy New Year !
Hi Cris and Everyone,
How are you all doing? What did you get up to at the weekend? I have a special message for you this Monday morning and that’s SAWATDI PHIMAI! That’s Thai for ‘Happy New Year’. It’s Songkran here in Thailand this weekend, from 13th to 15th April, which is the traditional Thai New Year. It is one of the most important cultural festivals in the whole Thai calendar and one that all Thais look forward to, as it is a lot of fun. So I’m off work, at home relaxing with the family.
Historically, Songkran is a 3 day festival. On the eve of the festival, housewives give their homes a thorough spring clean. They clean out all the old and unwanted things lying around the house to receive the coming of the New Year Day on the afternoon of ‘Maha Songkran Day’, which means ‘a big change’ and is the first official day of the Songkran holiday. On this day, people pour water on Buddha images and monks, sprinkle water over the family elders and ask for their blessings. In ancient times, old people were actually given a bath and then dressed in new clothes given to them by younger family members, as a mark of respect for the New Year.
This doesn’t happen so much now, but old and young dress up in their new clothes and visit their local temple. They also throw water over anyone else they can get their hands on, which means that out on the streets, all you can see are people with buckets of water, water guns and cannons, waiting to dowse anyone who passes by. You have to be prepared to get soaking wet when you go outdoors during Songkran. But, as this festival takes place during the hot season, it can actually be quite refreshing!
(image from http://www.popwuping.com/stuff/picts/songkran.jpg)
The 2nd days is ‘Nao Day’, which means the day after Songkran day and the day before the official Thai New Year’s Day, or ‘Taleung Sok Day’. On these days, people relax at home with friends and family…. and continue to throw water on everyone. Lots of staff from my office have gone back to the provinces to be with their parents, as one of the things you have to do at Songkran is pay respect to your parents.
Songkran is a really happy, fun festival. The Thais believe that by sharing their joy with each other, and having fun, they can uphold traditions of ‘keeping a good mind (i.e. thinking good thoughts), good manners, kindness and gratitude’. What major festivals do people in Argentina celebrate, Cris?
OK, over to language now. Here are the answers to the preposition questions I set you.
1. Round the corner FROM my house (not *of*)
2. Talk ON the phone (not *by*) (it is wrong to say *talk by phone*)
3. Correct - I’m ON the balcony (not *in*)
4. I take the bus FROM the corner of my house (you said ‘at’, which is OK)
5. Correct - He helped me TO attach these pictures (not *with*)
Cris, the pasta recipie was delicious. Thanks! We used blue cheese instead of the mozzarella (as its difficult to get good fresh mozzarella here). Steve and I usually eat at around 8-9pm, which is quite late for Thais, but we find it’s too hot to eat before this time. Thais tend to have their evening meal much earlier, at around 6-7pm. The kids eat at 6pm, then we put them to bed so we can relax and have mummy and daddy time. The picture of Steve at the table was taken on Christmas Eve this year. We decided just to have a collation of meats, cheeses and pickles, with some wine of course. Yummy!
To finish, did Ernesto enjoy the Rod Stewart Concert? And you were going to tell us about what you like to read.
Right - I'm off to dowse a few people by the swimming pool with water. Catch you all later :-)
thorough spring clean – a big clean
to sprinkle – to put a little bit (of water) on something e.g. ‘to sprinkle salt on something’, means to put a little salt on it
to dowse - to throw a lot (of water) on something e.g. ‘to dowse my chips with ketchup’, means to put a lot of ketchup on my chips!
to uphold – to maintain
to tend to do something – to usually do something
a collation - a mixture
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