Thais like to celebrate

From April 13-April 16, it was the Thai national holiday of Sonkcron. Sonkcron is a holiday for respecting the elders and having family time—but leave it to the Thai the perfect way to celebrate when it is the hottest time of the year (This past week it was around 41 degrees C approximately 112 degrees F). This holiday is also about water, lots of water and getting soaked. Here is how I celebrated Sonkcron:
Friday was a big day. The tessabon had organized a city wide event to kick off the holiday. Since Sonkcron is about paying respects to the elders, they trucked the old people of the town to the center city pavilion located next to the river. There was a lot of speeches (I have noticed Asians like there speeches at ceremonies), and then the younger people (young being under 60) went around through all the chairs and poured water on their hands saying “healthy living” to each person. The water was special with a flowers and leaves in it. If they liked you, they would slap their hands on your back, as if to return the blessing. After we were done being respectful, it became “pour as much water on your friends to get them soaked day”. Fun. The Thais had their alcohol, their rock ballad band, their karaoke contest and their dancing (Which I participated in). I had finally become dry, but on the way home I got soaked again. You the Thais like to stand on the side of the road during Sonkcron and throw water and powder on the people cars and motorcycles passing by. Since I was on a bicycle and an American, I got soaked double bad.
Saturday, the roles were reversed and I became a 14 year old boy for an hour and a half. The teenage boys of the community had come together at the hose across from mine and were throwing buckets of water on the motorcycles and cars passing by. I was fully equipped with a water gun and took part in this traditional method of fun. There were air guitars, a big stereo in the back blasting Thai rock music and America like Linkin Park. People would load up in the backs of pickup trucks and drive by loaded with buckets of water to throw at people. It was super fun.
Sunday, I went to the waterfall with a friend’s family. On the way back, I had a very interesting conversation about English in education with a school principal from a neighboring province. For instance, kids start learning English at age 7, but they learn reading and writing instead of speaking. They get to high school and can barely speak simple sentences.
Monday, I took it easy and relaxed with my counterparts family who had come up from Bangkok and other parts of Thailand to be with their parents. It is kinda like Thanksgiving in this sense.
This past week, the biggest highlight was Sports day on Friday. There sports reminded more of the games I played in elementary school Whacky Olympics. There were about 13 teams. Each District of the town had a team, with matching shirts. You could feel the excitement everyone had with the drums the teams were playing and the small dances that broke out. Every team was under their own tent, because it was really hot and Thais have a little fear of getting too much sun. There was also a tessaban team that I played on. The day consisted of a bunch of relays. It had the potato sack race, the run with the ball between, and blindfolded bowling water bottles. I played the run with your hands tied behind you back, with a straw in your mouth and pass the rubber band on your straw to the person on the other side of the field’s straw. It was really fun, and my staff said I ran really fast. Then after that it was time to meet the Thai equivalent of the governor. There was more water pouring onto the hands, followed by more celebratory karaoke and dancing. Also, I got soaked because the fire truck sprayed me when I was dancing.
Needless to say, Thais will find any reason to celebrate.


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