April 12 2014 marks the Thai New Year, it is a time for reflection, prayer, food, family and giving thanks to the good in our lives. It is a time to wash away past grievances and come to terms with moving forward in our lives. Having been raised in a Western Civilization household that adorned it’s walls with Eastern art, my first exposure to Buddhist beliefs were not difficult to understand. My grandfather being a merchant seaman all his adult life, he would bring home to my grandmother gifts from all over the world. But mostly from African and Asian cultures primarily. I was fascinated as a child to see their approach to art, to eventually learn of their philosophies and to experience listening to their various types of music.
When I met my wife several years ago, and began learning more about the Thai Culture, I was shocked at how little I really knew about Southeast Asian culture, customs, art and philosophy. Each country in Southeast Asia is distinctively unique in their approach to food, religion, societal behaviors, art and relationships. A great way to experience Thai culture is to seek out a Buddhist Temple in your area if they have one, and check their calendar of events. Generally the first or second week of April is the Thai New Year.
The Thai New Year (called Songkran) is a celebration of life, new beginnings and hope.