A New Year Festivity in Thai Tradition

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A New Year Festivity in Thai Tradition

Thanks to its long and well-established history, Thailand prides itself on various time-honored tradition, culture and lifestyle that have survived for centuries and can be evident in the present day. Despite the advent of modernity, the country has resisted change as it ever was, upholding long-held practices that have been handed down for countles generations. One proud heritage that has existed in the country is the age-old festivity of a New Yew.

Thailand celebrates the western New Year with a big bang, almost like the way it does with its own Songkran or the traditional Thai New Year. The western New Year is at best regarded as a yearend work break and celebration nationwide with extreme delight and spiritual and cultural dimension. Thai citizens still adhere firmly to their New Year event in a relatively traditional style. As part of their activities on New Year’s Day, most of Thai people will visit temples to make merit to ensure happiness, excellent health, good luck and prosperity for the year to come and to recuperate from the repercussions of a late night of celebrations.

This is a special Buddhist tradition and one that is greatly recommended if you aspire to feel an auspicious occasion like New Year’s Day in the Thai way. Some often visit as many as nine temples in one day. It affords the splendid opportunity to try to delve into nine temples. There are myriad temples in the provinces across Thailand to choose from. They are all awe-inspiring and dazzling. Early in the morning people begin to arrive at the temple wearing their finest clothes. They carry food nicely prepared at home including newly cooked rice, desserts and fruits, normally in fine silver or gold bowls and then offer them to the monks. Some people may bring flowers, joss sticks, candles and sand to the temple. After breakfast, people are blessed by the monks and they also devote the gained merits to their departed ancestors. Then many people return home whilst some may choose to remain at the temple and soon after take a vow with the monks to keep either five or eight precepts throughout the whole day. After taking this vow, they split their time between praying, listening to the monks’ preaching and practicing meditation.

Thai people are extremely pious because Buddhism prevails all their daily lives and plays a vital role in Thai tradition and culture. The vast majority of Thai populations are Theravada Buddhists. The Theravada school of Buddhism is based on the teachings of Lord Buddha that accentuate the cause of sorrow and the way to escape. Buddhists believe that suffering is caused by intense desire. So the abolition of desire leads to a state of non suffering and non existence called “Nirvana”. Thais’ belief is anchored in the Buddhist doctrine as stated in a Thai proverb “if you do good you will obtain good; if you do evil you will obtain evil”. This means the result of Karma signifies the evaluation of all life events and you will receive the consequences. Making merit has been part of Thais’ lifestyle for thousands of years. It denotes doing good things as declared in religious doctrine. Thais’ mode of life, since their birth until their death, is fairly acquainted with making merit. They strongly believe they ought to frequently make merit which would bring them bliss, peaceful life and other good things. A general rule in making merit is to prepare one’s mind and thoughts. The mind has to be ready and purified. In Buddhist philosophy, merit-making is actually defined by an aspiration to help others and to have a clean mind contributing to an individual’s positive Karma which will finally influence their fate and providence in future lives. And this is why the Thais like to make merit. Another auspicious activity Thai people usually do on New Year’s Day is dabbing water on the older folks or relatives. Younger populaces will travel to the elders’ houses to dab them with scented water. They will also take with them such items as presents, new clothes and money to bestow them upon the elders. This is considered as a gracious manner to pay the elders gratitude. The elders in return bless the givers with wealth and prosperity for the upcoming year. Paying respect to the spirit houses is also an essential element of the New Year event. To ask the spirit to guard them from any mischief, Thai people will conduct a holy ritual at their spirit houses. They will grant the spirit with offerings like cooked animals, fruits and water.

Thailand is conceived as an enchanting nation that can thoroughly preserve its old-fashioned tradition and custom. Should you are in Thailand for the New Year then you are in luck as you will have an opportunity to fully soak up Thailand’s New Year festivity in Thai tradition. This would also be a rare chance to rediscover one of the country’s treasured legacies and in the meantime absorb a culturally-enriching phenomenon.

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