Here in Thailand we have just entered the Songkran festival. Songkran is not limited to Thailand but also southern China, Burma, and other SE Asia countries. It represents their new year. It is funny in Thailand because they really celebrate 3 new years. The new year on 1/1, the Chinese new year which is based off the lunar calendar, and Songkran which is April 13th every year. Here is a few videos from my trip to the store in the morning as Songkran just started and unexpectedly there was a performance put on inside the store.
Basically, the Songkran festival is held from the 13th-15th but most places have 1 week off. During the 13th-15th if you go to any main downtown area of a city there will be trucks and cars lining the sides of the roads with huge stereo systems blasting Thai music or techno style music. During the day it is a bit calmer with some kids spraying water guns at you and pickup trucks riding around loaded with people and packed with drums of water to throw at you. For some it is just an opportunity to have fun with family and friends, for others there is a belief that the water is cleansing them of their sins. How unfortunate. During this time most Thai people will also go to the temple to Tam Boon “make merit” by helping out at the temple to fix things or donate in some way or just give their offerings of food to the monks because monks are not allowed to make food by themselves. That is actually one of the reasons (there are more) why buddhism was resisted so fiercely in China because in China culture hard work is prized and begging is viewed as shameful.
What is ironic is that this 7 day holiday is also known as the 7 deadly days where hundreds of people die from drunk driving or speeding and up to 80% of those deaths are from those on motorcycles. This holiday contributes to making Thailand the #1 in the world in road deaths. Certainly this is a huge contradiction from the making merit and washing away bad luck and sin.
This is even more apparent at night (I am not going to post videos of this) but things turn into an all out drunken revelry with hordes of drunken people lining the streets dancing to blasting music and getting soaked with water, powder and sometimes huge soap bubble parties form. Yet this is supposed to be doing good and cleansing of sin? Water like this could never cleanse sin, the enemy sure has blinded many. It reminds me of Jesus when he talked about the Pharisee’s and how they washed the outside of the cup but worried not about the cleansing the inside.
Pray for us as we continue to witness to those God places into our lives about the living water that can truly cleanse and forgive sins. I was able to share the gospel more with La tonight and gave him a good gospel tract to read as I left. Continue to pray for his salvation. In Jesus name, Amen!