Monday, April 10, 2006

Songkran

On Sunday the Thai community in Victoria celebrated Songkran or the Thai New Year at Federation Square. This is the 3rd year the event has been celebrated in Melbourne and its getting bigger and better every year.

This year the festival is celebrated in conjuction with the Siamese King's Diamond Jubilee, his royal Highness 60th years on the throne. Of course its all very fascinating for the non-Thai people in Melbourne even for me thought I've live and grew up in Malaysia for so long. There's still so much I don't know about the Thai culture.

In accordance to Thai tradition and culture, the festival always starts with a Buddhist chanting and blessing ceremony. These monks are local Melbournians but they did have to invite a special elderly monk from Thailand for this ceremony and he is seated at the head of the group on the far left.

After the chanting the general public are invited to give offerings of foods to the monks. I've never seen so much foods being placed at one place in such a short time before! They even needed help to take the foods away so as not to bury the monks in them! Apart from foods, you can also give offerings of any kinds including monetary donations. I even saw people donating panadol satchels and first aid kits! We were told by the monks later that they will not be able to finish all that foods today so the offerings will be given away to other charity organisations in Melbourne.

After the offerings the monks performed the water blessing ceremony which is also part of the Songkran Festival. Everybody lined up to be sprinked with the holy water by the head monk in freezing weather. It was a really cold and windy day in Melbourne that Sunday!

With the conclusion of the Buddist Ceremony came the Thai Drum Parade which went all over the square and eventually made its way onto the stage where they did a "Drum Dance". They came complete with an elephant, a lovely Thai lady, their own version of Patt Leong Kum and a pondan (transvestite). Spot the pondan with a big red flower in her hair.

After that they had the Nail Dance by beautiful tigers, I mean Thai girls! I feel sorry for the girls who had to wear their traditional costumes in horrific Melbourne weather!

Then came the Opening Ceremony. There were a lot of VIPs but the most prominent one would be the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Cr. John So here giving a speech in his very authentic cantonese accent English! Others present were other councillors, the consul general of Thai Business Association (I think) and Trisha Broadbridge who lost her husband in Phuket when they were honeymooning there when the tsunami hits. Trisha has been back to Phuket many times since to help rebuild the community in Phuket with the building of new schools and hospitals. And today she is receiving a special thankyou from the Thai community in honour of her strong support.

After the ceremony they had the 4 Regions Dance. I think its something to do with the 4 regions of Thailand represented by 4 lovely Thai girls with their colourful costumes and very long pointy nails!

Next we had the Children Dance performed by 4 cute and adorable children in spectacular Thai attires and water-lilies. Aww...aren't they sweet...

Up until now I've been sitting on my ass infront of the stage watching the festival since 10 o'clock and its been 3 hours! I needed to piss and my stomach is rumbling, time for chow...I decided to take a break to get something to eat. Went down the river bank where the food stalls were and was greeted by people people everywhere!

When did they get here? When I first got here at 10 this morning there was hardly anybody around. Now there are tons of people trying out the foods, checking out the stalls promoting Thai handicrafts, Thai DVDs, Thai massage (suituapui, that's for you) etc, etc.


Turned out to be a great day after all. Even with the cold weather and overcast day with cold winds the crowds kept coming. I had a quick walk around the square after a quick bite to eat before going back to the stage to watch the rest of the shows. I'll have to post the rest on my next post coz its getting way too long for one post but make sure you read the next post coz I promise you Thai girls, SYTs and lenglui galore! So don't miss out!

12 comments:

Mei said...

Hey, you know what? I was there too! Hhahahahaha... Will blog about it when I'm free :)

amelia said...

Hmm....KNB & his best pal better be on-line to read your next post since they will be going to Phuket soon.
Make sure you leave them some hot tips on Thai girls, SYTs and lenglui... ;)

Anonymous said...

So glad you enjoyed the Festival. We intend to make it bigger and better in 2007 and hope that you will join us! I liked your comments.
Leslie D Marmo
Publicity and Marketing-- Thai Culture and Food Festival
Foundation member of organing committee

Wuching said...

mei: oh damn! i didn't see u! where were u?

amelia: well all i can say about thai girls r they're hot, hot, hot!

Leslie D Marmo: Thank you for commenting on my blog, i did enjoy the festival & will be going again next year. u guys did a wonderful job putting it all together & i applaud u!

suituapui said...

SO VERY DISAPPOINTED!!! Where's the food? Wah! Mayor a Chinese kah? Gee! They're making their presence felt everywhere, aren't they...these Chinese?

Jacky said...

Looks pretty good... but hopefully the next post with the lenglui will be much better!

Wuching said...

STP: could u stop thinking about food for a minute?!

chinese r everywhere now!

jacky: u won't be dissapointed with the next post, yeah babies!

5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Fuwah! Wuching got noticed by the organiser. Next the mayor will posting on Wuching blog. After that,the Prime Minister of Australia....Oh gosh....femes liao!!!!

Cocka Doodle said...

**Whisper** ....Pssst! any 'representatives' from Patpong ah? LOL

Wuching said...

5xmom: hehe..paiseh lah! :P

cocka: no lah! where got!

Che-Cheh said...

Nice post. Enjoyed it.

Wuching said...

che-cheh: thankz again, mui mui! :)