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April 29, 2010 Volume 31, No. 29

Tigers get a taste of Thailand

Songkran Festival

The Thai community at MU and in mid-Missouri share a little bit of home each year when they host the traditional Thai New Year’s celebration known as the Songkran Festival. This year’s celebration, held April 22, was moved to the Student Recreation Complex from its usual location at Carnahan Quad. It’s an opportunity to experience the tastes of Thailand, with a free assortment of Thai delicacies prepared by local members of the Thai community. It’s also a time to celebrate Mizzou’s long-standing ties to the people of the Southeast Asian nation. Clay McGlaughlin photo

Water festival

Songkran Festival joins the Mizzou and Thai communities

The Thai people certainly know how to throw a party, especially when it comes to the traditional Thai New Year’s celebration called the Songkran Festival. And, over the past several years, the MU community has been able to join in the fun. Each spring, the MU Thai Student Association has hosted the celebration that features Thai food, music, dance and cultural presentations.

The Songkran Festival is perhaps best known as “the water festival,” because it’s a time when people gleefully drench each other in water delivered from pots and pans, water guns and even hoses.

Here at MU, Thai students tone down the water-throwing angle a bit. At this year’s celebration, Mother Nature might have taken over those duties. Because of cloudy skies and a forecast of rain, the event was moved from its regular location at Carnahan Quad to the Student Recreation Complex.

In spite of the fun, there is a spiritual aspect to the holiday. In Thailand, the Songkran Festival is a time for cleaning and renewal, a time when people clean the Buddha images in their homes and temples. It’s also a time when people go back to their hometowns to spend time with their family elders.