Happy Thai New Year 2011 to all Thai people, my friends and readers across the globe…
It’s Songkran Festival, 13 – 15 April. I knew the festival is on because in Penang it is widely celebrated at a Thai temple, Wat CHayamangkalaram (or passionately known by the locals as the Sleeping Buddha temple).
The festival is associated with water, actually throwing of water at anyone! It is a way of cleansing away the bad luck. Not bad if the weather is warm and hot, and if the water is clean and fragrant with rose or jasmine flowers.
If it is not for my partner’s sharp eye this morning when he read the local newspaper, we would not have known this local festival hosted by the Thai association was on at a eastern shore suburb in Lindisfarne.
After one week of heavy rain, showers and extreme cold of below 10 degrees at night time and low to mid 10s in daytime, we woke up this morning to a glorious and perfect autumn sky of 5 degree Celsius, which managed to creep up to 19 by noon.
Lindisfarne is a nice and quiet suburb with a sheltered bay, a rowing club and sailing club overlooking the Tasman Bridge and Mount Wellington. It is a gorgeous spot and a million dollar view to die for.
We were not sure what to expect at the festival, which is held inside the building of Lindisfarne Rowing Club. We parked our car at a park next to the club. Got out. The view was incredible. It was perfect and peaceful. At a distance I saw a big crowd inside the club. It was 11:30 am. Walked towards the club, reached the entrance and there were two lovely Thai ladies having their plates of yummy looking food. I greeted, “Sawaddee Krap”. “Sawaddee Ka,” the lovely ladies replied, and said something else which lost me. They thought I was Thai and look like Thai. 🙂
We walked up the stairs to the function room where the festival is held. We were then greeted by a charming Thai man and a beautiful young lady, both clad in a traditional Thai costume. Lovely smiles. Thai people have the loveliest smiles I ever known in any culture. The entry charge is by a donation, which go to support their Thai temple (is there one in Hobart?). We paid $5.
It was very, very busy and packed with people. There was a long queue for the food. There were plenty of delicious Thai dishes and sweets cooked on the premise. There were several helpers both in the kitchen and serving tables. The surprising thing was the food was free! A great generosity of the local Thai people hosting this festival and sharing their food and culture with the community. I just hope everyone has contributed at the door by giving a small token at the entrance to enjoy this lovely culture, food, music, performances and great fun.
We had a great time and stayed there for almost 3 hours!
Some of the traditional Thai dance performances
I think my favourite has to the children. Dressing the children with garland. A great way of raising fund for their association and temple. $2 for the garland. They are all so cute and adorable. Most in a traditional Thai costume.
Getting ready to go on the stage. Boy, they are brave!
So sweet that little girl with the perfect palms together showing respect and greeting to everyone. And, the boy wondering what’s up there!
Join in the dance – Happy Songkran