The purpose for New Year in Thailand is not to mark the beginning of another year, but to give children the opportunity to come home to see their parents and to pay their respects. Like in America, parents give all they have to their children and do a lot for them. Therefore, in the Thai New Year 2006, the year of the dog, children were encouraged to come back to their native land and pay their respects to their parents. It is the same whether or not your parents are living or dead.
As here in America, a lot of noise with gongs and cymbals will let a visitor know that there is a festival going on. There is little indication, though, that this is for the New Year. One must inquire about the celebration to even have a shred of evidence that the New Year in Thailand is being celebrated. Apart from the music, there is dancing in the streets during New Year celebrations. If you’ve ever seen Times Square during the last day of the year, then you can imagine what millions of people pouring into the streets must look like, but can you image what it sounds like? Deafening would be one suggestion. There are 61.5 million people who live in Thailand…that’s some party!
Similar to that of the Chinese, Thailand has customs that mimic the celebrations and techniques used in that part of the world to celebrate the New Year. With loud music and much dress and dance, the Thailand New Year, held during the month of April, is concerned with the relationships between parents and their children. Recognizing that this relationship must be sustained throughout the generations, parents give to their children all year long and this New Year is a time when children are to give back to their parents.
This generational gap closer was passed down by their ancestors to show the children how important their relationships with their parents were. A time to teach children about family and their responsibility to it and the loyalty from one’s family each can expect, grandparents and elders alike sustain these expectations on their youth. This, they feel, is why their country’s well being and honor are preserved. If they fail in the areas of teaching their youth, they are settling their own demise. This being the premise in which the country was founded; relationships with others, the Thai’s work hard to ensure good relationships and work hard to restore what is not already well.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our new year was a time of reflection on our relationships with our children? Would our country’s well being and honor be preserved for generations to come? Would our children have to deal with all that we do as parents today? I think it would be a totally different world if we adopted New Year in Thailand.