In Thailand, from April 13th-15th people everywhere are throwing water at each other and at just about anything that moves. Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year and, as celebrations go, it is usually the biggest in Thailand - famous for the giant water fights that engulf cities and neighbourhoods all over the country every year.
But Songkran is about more than just dumping ice water down your neighbour's back and water is for more than just fun in Thai culture. Traditionally, Songkran is also a time for honouring elders. Scented water is taken by the young people in a family and offered to their elders who will bless them by splashing some on their own heads and then the heads of their young relatives.
The history of this practice stretches back to well before Christianity came to Thailand but many Thai Christian churches maintain it as a symbolic way to follow the Biblical insistence that we honour not only our parents but our elders, too (e.g. 1 Tim. 5:1; Lev. 19:32). Many churches even incorporate this tradition into their worship around the time of Songkran. It is one of the many ways Thai Christians are finding to make their Christianity uniquely Thai.
Click the video below to watch this beautiful ritual unfolding on Easter morning (which coincided with Songkran this year) in the oldest church in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.