Part 1 of our 2015 Songkran iTravel Exclusive takes you to the ancient southern city of Nakhon Si Thammarat
Happy Songkran, everybody! This year, iTravel Channel is taking you on a two-part iTravel Exclusive for Thai New Year. Our first part is here in Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand’s south. So in Nakhon, Songkran is of course about having fun and splashing water but it’s also about what’s known as merit making or giving thanks. Come along, because we’re going go and see what Songkran in Nakhon Si Thammarat is all about!
Wat Phra Mahatat is one of the most important ancient Buddhist sites in Thailand. The temple’s main stupa was built as early as the 13th century, and legend has it that a tooth relic from Buddha was once brought here. Today the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and spiritual landmark to the entire country – especially during religious holidays like the Songkran Festival.
Thai New Year in Nakhon Si Thammarat is not only special to Buddhism, but also Hinduism with a rare and interesting event called the Nang Kradan Festival.
Each of the wooden plates has a different spiritual meaning. The first represents the Sun and Moon Gods, the second Mother Earth and the third Mother River. It’s said the Nang Kradan festival has been taking place in Nakhon Si Thammarat since 657 AD, when the first Brahman community lived here.
The procession of over 1,000 people is a way of honoring the god Shiva, who is said to bring blessings, peace and happiness to Earth for the New Year. Nakhon Si Thammarat is traditionally an agricultural town – so it means Shiva will also bring rain too. And tonight, it looks like the god has started on that even a little early.
The locals put on an elaborate live reenactment of the story of Shiva coming to Earth and visiting the Giant Swing. It’s televised nationally across Thailand, a spectacle of lights, stunts and beautiful live music.
So now we’ve discovered what Thai New Year is all about in southern Thailand, but we’ve still got more on iTravel Exclusives for Songkran 2015 for you. We’re going to be heading back up through Thailand to find out what Songkran is like with locals on the beach in Baeng San. So don’t go anywhere,
Watch the Behind the Scenes here http://theitravelchannel.tv/nakhon-si-thammarat-southern-charm/