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Apr 13, 2013

April 13th Thai, Lao, Burmese, and Cambodian New Year

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Cambodian New Year
‘Songkran’ Thailand Traditional New Year

The traditional New Year's Day is celebrated in Thailand as, Songkran festival and is celebrated from 13 to 16 April. Originally they used to celebrate New Year on the date depending on astrological calculations, but now the system is changed and the date is fixed. If these festival days fall on a weekend, the missed days off are taken on the immediately following weekdays.

Songkran is believed to have been adapted from an Indian festival, and has traditionally been celebrated as the New Year for many centuries. This festival is now observed nationwide, but still the most famous Songkran celebrations are in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days and even more.

Pbeemai or Song Kan, Lao New Year

Every year from April 13 to April 15, Lao New Year Is celebrated, and this is known as Pbeemai, or Song Kan. Lao New Year falls in April, on the first day of the festival, houses and villages are cleaned, flowers, perfume and water are prepared for the new year. The first day of the festival is the last day of the older year.

"Day of no day", is the second day of the festival that falls neither in the older year nor in the New Year. And the last day of the festival is the beginning of the New Year.

Thingyan Burmese New Year

Burmese New Year Water Festival is known as Thingyan. This festival falls around mid-April it is a Buddhist festival celebrated over a period of four to five days culminating in the New Year. Formerly the dates of the festival were calculated according to the traditional Burmese calendar, but now the dates are fixed as 13 to 16 April.

The distinguishing feature of this festival is, water-throwing or dousing one another from any sort of vessel or device that delivers water and this may be done on the first four days of the festival. However, in most parts of the country, this does not begin until the second day.

Khmer Cambodian New Year
Cambodian New Year is known as Khmer, which means "Enter New Year" in the Khmer Language. Beginning on New Year's Day, the holiday lasts for three days, this usually falls on April 13 or 14th. Khmers who are living abroad may choose to celebrate the New Year during a weekend rather than celebrating it specifically from April 13 through 15th.

Maha Songkran, is derived from Sanskrit word Maha Sankranti. It is the name of the first day of the New Year celebration; it is the ending of the old year and the beginning of a new one.

Family members dress up, visit shrines and light candles and incense sticks. Family members individually, pay homage and offer thanks to Buddha and his teachings by kneeling, prostrating and bowing three times before Buddha’s image.

In the morning people wash their face with holy water, at noon they wash their chests, and in the evening before they go to bed they wash their feet, for good luck.


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