Songkran | Bangkok Photographers Magazine, Edition #6

(Bangkok Photographers) #1


With the city-spanning water fight of Songkran taking over Bangkok in the middle of the
month, an April photo walk was never going to be a practical prospect. On top of the risk to
everyone’s cameras, most the group’s organisers and many members took a break from the
Big Mango, if not Thailand entirely. Switching to a theme-led photo project was the obvious
choice as, so we thought, was the theme.
As it turns out, “Songkran” is quite a challenging concept to visualise when you’re not
in Thailand, resulting in only 16 submissions for this edition of Bangkok Photographers
Magazine. We are very grateful to those who sent in their spectacular shots, and we have
learnt a lesson for future projects about making the themes more accessible.
The holiday itself is the Thai celebration of Buddhist New Year. The word “Songkran”
derives from the Sanskrit word for ‘movement’ or ‘astrological passage’, denoting the
movement of the sun from one position to another in the zodiac. In this case, it’s the
movement from Pisces to Aries. The holiday covers three days: Maha Songkran (‘great
Songkran’), which is the day the sun moves into the Aries position and marks the last day of
the old year; Wan Nao, which is the transitional day between the old and new years; and Wan
Thaloeng Sok, which is New Years’ Day.
Being based on the Buddhist calendar, a lot of Southeast Asian countries have New Year
celebrations at this time of year and many share the cleansing theme and showing respect
for elders, including washing their feet. Playing with water and thanaka powder are also
prominent features of the celebrations thoughtout the region.
More modern traditions that started in Thailand but have gradually become just as
widespread include wearing vibrant Hawaiian shirts and the rather more intense water
playing, verging on pitched water battles. In Bangkok, the battlefields are generally found at
Siam Square, Silom Road, and Khao San Road. Other major tourist destinations around the
country also celebrate in a big way, including Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Phuket, Krabi,
and Koh Samui.
We hope you had a safe and happy celebration of Songkran, wherever you were for it.

Have fun,
Mark, Chutima, and Ben.

Bangkok Photographers Magazine

Edition #

Magazine Editor Ben Reeves
Photo Walk Coordinator Mark A. Hathaway
Leadership Support Chutima Panjapan
Logo Design Ubonpayom Ongsara
Front Cover Photo Kent van Vliet
Title Page Photo Albert Fransz
Back Cover Photo Chutima Panjapan

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“Songkran” Photo Project

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