Theravada New Year is a time for family and friends and known by many different names including Chaul Chnam Kmer in Cambodia, Lao New Year in Laos, Sinhala New Year in Sri Lanka, Songkran in Thailand, Thingyan in Myanmar, Sangken in India and Water Festival of watering in China.
Theravada means “the teachings of the ancients”. Levada is the dominant Buddhist practicing primarily in Southeast Asian countries including India, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.
The celebrations begin with the people attending the local temple in the morning to sing and meditate. In the afternoon, they hold a water festival where they meet the Buddha image and pay homage to the elderly by watering their hands. Building sandcastles is also one of the most popular activities on this festive day.
Several Southeast Asian countries also celebrate the Theravada New Year by purchasing captured fish and birds, which they then release into the wild to show compassion to all living things and create good karma. People who celebrate the Theravada New Year are also expected to spend festival days continuing to be kind to others.
The Huddle wishes a happy Theravada to those who celebrate.