Songkran merit making
14.04.2014 - 15.04.2014 39 °C
Songkran is more than water splashing and this new year celebration was originally started with the tradition of "rod nam dam hua" which is a Thai new year ritual to ask for forgiveness from the elderly for the past year mistakes and wrongdoing. The ritual begins with the elderly sit on a higher position while the younger person(s) seeking for forgiveness on a lower position. The younger person seeking forgiveness would pour water from the silver or golden bowl filled with water with another smaller size bowl to the claps hands of the elderly while asking for forgiveness and in return the elder person would use small bouquet of flowers or leaves to wet the head of younger person as sign of forgiveness.
In some Thai families, Songkran New Year was celebrated through merit making with invitation on monks to their homes for prayers seeking for good health, happiness and peace. This merit making tradition would begin with the monks sitting on a area which was specifically prepared for them with a small altar beside the chief monk who would lead the team of monks for the prayers merit making. The ritual would start with family members kneel down and offer 3 times of kowtow before sitting on the floor. Then, the chief monk would start by chanting prayers while family members would re-chant according to what had been chanted by the chief monk. In the interval, the head of the family would asked for good wishes for all the family members and hope that the new year would bring a new beginning for the whole family. At the end of the ritual, all the monks would be presented with gifts which only meant for the monks' daily use and nothing materialistic. Before the monks leave, they would also be provided with food while other family members would also help themselves with the food which can either be prepared by family members or bought from food vendors.
Children seeking forgiveness from the elderly during Songkran in this "Rod Nam Dam Hua" traditional ritual
The elderly wets the head of the person seeking forgiveness during the Rod Nam Dam Hua ritual during Songkran
The monks at Songkran merit making tradition
Thai family members re-chanting prayers from chief monk during Songkran merit making ceremony
Monks presented with gifts (only for daily use) at the end of the Songkran merit making ceremony
Food being offered to the monks at the end of Songkran merit making ritual