Songkran water festival

It is the time of year when Thai’s from all over the world return to their families, their homes and villages to pay respect to their elders. And to join the kids celebrating Thailands Water Festival.

Songkran is the New Year’s festival. New Year’s Day is 13 April every year, but the official holiday period includes 14–15 April as well. And unofficially stretches through to the following weekend. The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti which literally means “astrological passage”, transformation or change.

 

Mornings begin with visiting the local temple and offering food to the monks is commonly practiced. Later in the day pouring water on Buddha statues represents a way of purification, washing away the past.

It is a festival of unity.

 

People who have moved to other countries usually return home to their loved ones and elders and the younger members of the family show respect by pouring fragrant water over the palms of elders’ hands. Paying reverence to ancestors is also an important part of Songkran tradition.

Main streets in the towns and villages are closed to traffic to allow both young and old celebrate by splashing water on each other and engaging in fierce water battles. Water barrels are placed on virtually every road and traffic runs the gauntlet of laughing noisy kids armed to the teeth with an impressive array of water guns, hosepipes and fragrant paste.

 

Gunsmithing skills are also an essential service.

Chinese New Year

So no, it wasn’t the Chinese New year festival, it was the Ghost Festival. Although I am damned sure she said otherwise.

The Ghost Month is the seventh lunar month of Chinese Lunar Calendar. And the 15th lunar day is the day of the Chung-Yuan Ghost Festival. That’s today and maybe that is why I misunderstood.

Although I am damned sure I didn’t.

The festival has it’s origins from Chinese Buddhism. Moggallana  was one of Buddha Shakyamuni’s best students. One day, he saw his deceased mother amongst hungry ghosts. So he descended to Hell taking a bowl of food for his mother. However turned to burning coals before it could be eaten and Moggallana pleaded with Buddha to help. But his mothers couldn’t be forgiven without the combined power of thousand monks. Buddha told Moggallana that, “the 15th day of the 7th lunar month is the Pavarana Day for the assembled monks of all directions. Prepare an offering of hundreds of flavors and the five fruits, and other offerings of incense, oil, lamp, candle… to the assembled monks. Your present parents and parents of seven generations will escape from sufferings.” Following Buddha’s instructions, Moggallana’s mother was released and similar rituals are held in the Buddhism temples on this day for the deliverance of suffering spirits.

 

Folklore says these spirits jailed in the Hell have one-month to travel to the towns in the 7th lunar month every year requiring people to prepare and offer food for them.

 

Dam building

Phian has 12 rai just off the main road. It is a good long term investment. But she hasn’t had much luck getting it to pay for upkeep. She dug a dam and tried sugar cane. Only to get hit by the drought. Last year she planted rice but had difficulty getting into the lands, as bad drainage made it difficult harvesting. She then decided to dig a borehole and plant sugarcane again.

They found water. But the flow was not nearly strong enough to irrigate the lands.

In desperation she made the decision to excavate and dig a bigger, deeper, better dam.

The crew consisted of a macro mechanical digger, two dumper trucks, and a tractor equipped with a grader blade and ploughs.

The two trucks carried the soil from the dam to the landfill site, dumping it for the tractor to shift and level.

 

There was much excitement when they hit water. A small spring virtually in the middle of the dam. And another in the one corner which trickled out of the dams wall.

 

Concrete pipes were lowered over the spring in the floor to create a well. Not sure how this will work out. But will wait and see.

 

After the rains, once the soil has settled, the landfill will be used for building well out of reach of any flood water.

 

The trucks shuttled back and forth for two days. After which the macro was loaded onto a low loader and off to the next job. And that was when the skies opened and the rain came bucketing down.

 

Leaving us to wake to a few large muddy puddles in the driveway.

 

Which required a bit more digging and filling. But by hand this time.

 

Golf in Kanchanaburi

There are a couple of world class golf courses in Kanchanaburi. Located in Tha-Muang the Evergreen Hills Golf Club and Resort offers a standard 18-hole, 72-par golf course. The resort also offers a fully equipped meeting room, clubhouse, restaurant, driving field, tennis court, swimming pool, camp fire, karaoke and snooker room.

The local weekend market

It’s best to get up early for Saturdays morning market. If you leave it too late the sun gets up making it uncomfortably hot with too many people and too many flies.

They are spontaneous affairs popping up as the sun rises with all the hustle and bustle as the locals come out to browse and buy. Goods range from clothes, basic household goods, fresh produce and food stalls.

There was always a long queue for the deep fried chicken wings and sticky rice which became our regular Saturday morning breakfast.