A time for renewal: Thai New Year

You can experience Thai culture right here in the Northern Rivers when the local Thai community celebrates Songkran (Thai New Year) with the monks and devotees from the Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery of Lismore this Sunday, April 11.

Songkran is traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends and neighbours. There’s also the ritual of throwing water. (Yes, it’s an adult ritual...)

In many Thai cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha images from all of the city’s important monasteries are paraded through the streets so that people can toss water at them, ritually ‘bathing’ the images (and their carriers) as they pass by on ornately decorated floats. In northern Thailand people may carry handfuls of sand to their neighbourhood monastery in order to recompense the dirt that they have carried away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then sculpted into stupa-shaped piles and decorated with colourful flags.

Songkran is a time for cleaning and renewal.

The Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery is 80 acres of beautiful land with buildings situated at 78 Bentley Road, Tullera, just north of Lismore. Anyone can go there, enjoy the natural beauty and learn the ways of the Buddha.

The celebration of Songkran is open to everyone and runs from 10am to 3pm.

(It could be an interesting excursion into Thai culture without risking a Qantas plane flight.)

Entry is free with donations being accepted for food and cultural performances. Proceeds go toward the monastery’s building fund.

For more info phone 6685 5726 or 0423 777 294.

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