SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol. 9-10 (2009-2010)

Water Festivals of Thailand: The Indian Connection

Ruchi Agarwal




Abstract


Indians and Thais share a common religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage. One facet of this sharing involves festivals celebrated in Thailand. The most important Thai festivals are Loy Krathong and Songkran, Both festivals linked to the Indian festivals. Thais celebrate Loy Krathong on the full moon in November and pay respect to the river by floating the banana leaf cups and asking for forgiveness from the River Goddess Ganges. River Ganges has no connection with Thailand but still is respected by Thais on this day. It is related to the Indian festival of Kartik Purnima which gets its name from the month of Kartik (November-December). On this day people will bathe in sacred rivers as the beliefs are that Gods descend of earth and reside in the holy rivers that flow naturally for healthy growth and spiritual grace.
The Thai New Year, Songkhran, falls on the 13th-14th of April every year. The word ‘Songkran’ derives from the Sanskrit word “Sankranti,” a festival celebrated in other parts of Asia. It portrays the typical ways of life of the people which are involved in the agricultural aspects in India as well as Thailand. Both the festivals are celebrated in India and Thailand with different names but with the same purpose somehow and are related to water. My paper deals with the cultural religious connection of such festivals of Thailand with India.

Key Words: Thailand, India, Myanmar, Songkran, Sankranti, Phalgun Thagyamin, Thingyan, Brahma, Krishna

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