On April 15th 2017, Wat Phra Dhammakaya London, United Kingdom held a Songkran Festival to celebrate Thai New Year. There were many local and Thai people who came to enjoy this event, including many who visit the temple regularly for meditation and other activities. Many came along with their families and children to attend this traditional Thai ceremony.
The day’s activities began with a short ceremony of making and sharing merits with our ancestors and our loved ones who have passed away to show our love and remembrance for them.
Following this, the Thai New Year festival of 2017 was officially opened by the Mayor of Woking who we were honoured to welcome as our guest.
Later on outdoors in the temple grounds, we held a New Year alms-offering of food to the monks, there were many people from the local community who participated in this and all thoroughly enjoyed the event.
Shortly after, everyone gathered together and participated in some traditional Thai dancing. This was a new addition for us at the Songkran festival and everyone really enjoyed it. We then did a ceremony bringing sand into the temple as a Thai tradition that has been followed for many years in Thailand. This represents the bringing of abundance and good luck for everybody in the coming year.
At lunch time, everyone enjoyed the Thai food festival where all the food stalls provided us with a variety of delicious Thai dishes, drinks and desserts, all for free of charge.
In the late afternoon, we gathered together and practiced Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta Chanting, the original teaching of Lord Buddha, followed by a short meditation session. After this we engaged in the ancient Thai tradition of paying respect to our parents by their daughters/ sons when they bring a flower and give it to their parents to show our appreciation of love for them.
The day ended with everyone coming together to pour water onto the Buddha images and the hands of our senior visitors. This represents cleansing of life for the new year.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day, full of tears of happiness and laughter. We share our merits to all of you around the world.