Monday, April 12, 2010

Young Thai Dancer

Sunday my friends and I went to Songkran, the Thai New Year celebration at Thai Temple in Tampa. It was an incredible celebration; not at all like our American New Year celebration.

Besides tons and tons of delicious Thai food, there were many cultural dancers. There were two MC's; one who spoke Thai to the Thai people, and an English translator for the rest of us. Most Thai people were dressed in native Thai clothing that was beautiful; much more elaborate than the American Sunday dress and I must say much more beautiful. Entertainment was many Thai dancers performing traditional dances in full Thai dress. This young girl was one of the dancers.

There were two exhibitions of Moi Thai (kick-boxing). (My spelling is probably incorrect). In one of the exhibitions a girl sparred with her teacher. The other was an actual fight between a 4-year student and his instructor. They were both very good.

After that, they did a parade and a giant water fight. It is said that the more soaked you get, the more evil spirits are washed away. It was a blast watching how much fun the kids were having dumping large buckets of water over each others' heads then pouring powder onto them to make a very muddy mess. The elderly women blessed us by dipping a carnation into a mixture of water, Jasmine oil and powder and sprinkling it on our necks, shoulders and hands. This custom is to wash away evil spirits, to keep us healthy and to wish us much luck in the coming year. It smelled so good, I didn't want to change my clothes!

There were more than 200 people there and everyone enjoying the day. I had so much fun and it was so interesting. This is the second Thai festival I've gone to and I have learned to love the people and their culture. Thailand is called the land of 1,000 smiling faces and I can see why. It was almost like stepping into another world. What a wonderful experience.
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