Airdate: Apr 15, 2019
Scientist: Dr. Philip Dearden
Songkran - Thai New Year
It's the hottest time of the year in Thailand, and the traditional Thai New Year's celebration offers a proven remedy for the heat.
Heres a program from our archives.Songkran - Thai New YearAmbience: Thai Music It's the hottest time of the year right now in Thailand, and people are waiting in anticipation for the rainy season and the celebration that marks the start of the traditional Thai New Year. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Dr. Philip Dearden is professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, and a principal investigator for the Earthwatch Insititute.Dearden: We've had no rain now, since the time of the monsoons in early November, and the heat's beginning to build and everybody's looking forward for the first rains to start and hopefully they are going to start sometime in May. So by the time we get to this time of year, April, everybody's pretty laid back. Everything is fairly still. There's a lot of smoke in the air from the burning that's been going on, especially in the rural areas. And there's a very important festival this time of year: the Thai New Year, Songkran. And it's a very interesting festival because this is the hottest time of the year; it's the time of year when water is the most scarce and yet this festival, the main celebration, is throwing water at each other. And so they bathe each other in water and it might be a nice sprinkle from a scented mug, or it might be a great big bucket of icy water that somebody drops over you. But they've got the heat and they celebrate it by throwing water around in anticipation of the rains that are going to be coming soon.Dearden: In Thai society there is great respect for age and for elders. And so this festival starts off as a bit of a party when there's a lot of dancing and music. But as the festival progresses, what happens it turns much more into a veneration of parents into grandparents and into ancestors. And so it becomes a mark of respect for those who have gone before." This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.