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The Songkran Festival is a traditional Thai New Year's celebration that takes place annually from April 13th to 15th. It is known for its water-throwing festivities, where people pour water on each other as a symbol of purification and the washing away of sins and bad luck.
The name Songkran comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti, which means "astrological passage," and marks the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season in Thailand.
During the festival, people also visit temples, offer food to Buddhist monks, and participate in cultural activities such as parades and traditional dances. The holiday is an important time for families to come together and pay respect to their elders, as well as for friends to reunite and celebrate the start of a new year.
In recent years, the water-throwing aspect of Songkran has become more of a party atmosphere, with many young people taking to the streets to splash water on each other and engage in friendly water fights. Despite this shift in tone, the festival remains an important cultural tradition in Thailand, and is recognized as a public holiday across the country.
Another important aspect of Songkran is the creation of sand pagodas. Thai people often visit the beach during the holiday to build intricate sand structures that are believed to bring good luck and blessings. These pagodas are adorned with flowers, incense, and candles, and are seen as a way to honor Buddha and the teachings of Buddhism.
Songkran is also a time for delicious food and traditional sweets, such as "kanom tom," a sweet dessert made of sticky rice and coconut milk, and "khanom krok," a small cake made from rice flour and coconut milk. Additionally, many Thai people wear traditional clothing during the festival, such as "chut thai," which consists of a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wrap-around skirt for women.
Overall, the Songkran Festival is a time for joy, happiness, and togetherness. It is an opportunity for Thai people to reconnect with their cultural roots, pay respect to their elders, and celebrate the start of a new year with family and friends.
As far as naturalists are concerned, the great value of wildflowers is in perpetuating the species, in contributing their very presence to the environment in which they play an integral part, though their particular function may not be well understood, even by botanists. Where certain habitats have been disturbed by the construction of dams or human habitations or by the cultivation of land farms and forestry, some flowers have declined in numbers. Occasionally becoming endangered species or even extinct altogether. It is important, therefore, for amateur naturalists to leave such plants where they are, rather than to pick them or attempt to transplant them to their own gardens. Some wildflowers make lovely garden plants and are easy to grow-daisies, violets and buttercups are especially popular and are not all endangered in the wild – and a pretty wildflower garden can turn any backyard into a showplace. But it is always best to purchase the seeds from a commercial nursery or seed Catalog Company rather than try to collect flowers from nature. It is not always easy to reproduce growing conditions in which the plant will feel at home, and it would be a shame to risk the loss of a wildflower in this experimental way.
Popular pastimes for flower lovers in the days before wildflower were considered a natural treasure was to collect and press them. Some enthusiasts would fill entire albums or create handsome dried collages or arrangements, and even today such objects are admired for their beauty. But again, because of the rarity of some flowers and the simple fact that living flowers are always more beautiful than dead ones, collecting them is not recommended. The best ways to bring wildflowers home are through your own photographs or by sketching or painting them on the spot and then displaying your artwork
The Loy Krathong festival is a popular and beautiful event celebrated annually in Thailand. The festival takes place on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, which usually falls in November. The name "Loy Krathong" comes from the Thai words "loy" meaning "to float" and "krathong" referring to the small, handmade baskets that are floated on water during the festival.
The tradition of Loy Krathong dates back to the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom, and is believed to have originated as a way to pay respect to the water goddess, Phra Mae Khongkha. The festival also marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the rice harvest.
During Loy Krathong, people gather by rivers, canals, and lakes to release their krathongs onto the water. The krathongs are made from banana leaves, flowers, candles, and incense sticks, and are believed to carry away bad luck and negative energies. Many people also release small boats decorated with candles, incense, and offerings, known as "krathong sai," into the water.
In addition to the water-based activities, Loy Krathong also involves cultural performances, parades, and fireworks displays. The festival is also an opportunity for families and friends to come together and enjoy traditional Thai foods such as "khao tom mat," sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes, and "khanom tom," a sweet dessert made of sticky rice and coconut milk.
One of the most spectacular places to experience Loy Krathong is in the ancient city of Sukhothai, where the festival is celebrated in a grand and traditional manner. The city is illuminated with candles and lanterns, and there are cultural performances and fireworks displays throughout the night.
Overall, Loy Krathong is a beautiful and meaningful festival that showcases the rich culture and traditions of Thailand. It is a time for reflection, gratitude, and the coming together of communities to celebrate the beauty and abundance of nature.
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