Today marks the New Year celebration for people in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and in many parts of South India. Nalanda Buddhist Society wishes our Thai teachers and friends a peaceful celebration of Songkran, as well as wishing our Myanmar friends a happy Thingyan, and our Sri Lankan friends a meaningful Sinhala New Year.
Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic ravaging the world, this year’s celebrations are very much subdued with mass gatherings and travelling banned across Asia. Despite being unable to celebrate it boisterously like usual, we can still observe New Year in a meaningful and spiritual way.
For example, the Songkran celebration in Thailand is traditionally connected with water. On this day, younger people would pour water over the hands of their elders, symbolically an act of paying respects. The elders in turn would give blessings and offer their best wishes to the younger ones for the coming year. This is a meaningful and spiritual way of connecting family members across generations with acts of piety, respect, and kind appreciation for each other.
Besides, the sprinkling of water on others symbolises the importance of purifying one’s bodily actions, speech, thoughts, and intentions. People may rightly say that this is the essence of the celebration, and not the usual rowdy and overexcited shooting with water-guns.
Therefore, let us reflect on the real significance of our traditional festivals and celebrate them in a more profound way. Happy New Year to all our friends who are celebrating today. May you discover blessings and tranquility in the face of uncertainties.