Hindu Sankaranti Festival in Thailand and Laos! (Post No.4990)

Kabilaprom and his seven daughters, issued by Thailand on April 7,2016

 

Hindu Sankaranti Festival in Thailand and Laos! (Post No.4990)

 

Research article Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 8 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 18-24 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 4990

 

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.

 

 

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Two South East Asian countries celebrate Hindu festival Sankaranti with a Buddhist legend. Tamils in South India celebrate it as Pongal- Harvest Festival. Other parts of India celebrate it as a solar festival. All over India worship Sun God on that day.

 

Thailand and Laos have different stories associated with it.

 

In Thailand there lived a wise man who can speak with birds. His name was Dharmabarn (Dharma abarana- one who wears the jewel Dharma/Virtues). He was born in a wealthy family. He was wise even when he was seven years old.

 

The king was the other intelligent man in the country and his name was Kabila Brahmana. He had seven daughters. Kabila heard about Dharma and challenged him with three questions. That was a riddle. The loser in the competition should lose his head was the condition put forth by Kabila. Dharma agreed to it.

The riddle was: In the morning, at noon and in the evening, where is the human wheel of life?
Since Dharma could understand birds’ language, he heard two eagles talking about the wheel of human life.

 

The birds revealed to him that: In the morning, the wheel of life is on its face- that is why we wash our faces every morning.

At noon, the wheel of life is at its chest- that is why we wear perfume on our chests.

In the evening, the wheel of life is at its feet- that is why we wash our feet before going to bed.

Dharma gave these correct answers and hence Kabila cut off his own head. His seven daughters feared that if the head fell into the earth, a great fire will engulf the planet. If the head is hurled in the air, the planet will suffer a drought. If the head fell into the ocean, it would dry up. They decided to keep the head suspended in a cave of a mountain. Every year, one of the daughters would retrieve the head and parade around with it.

 

SANKARANTI (PONGAL) FESTIVAL

Evidently, the King had assigned his seven angel daughters to take turns carrying his head clockwise around Phra Sumane Mountain. And if Songkran Day (13 April) falls on any day of the following, that year would be honoured by that Nang Songkran. SONGRAN= SANKARANTI

 

In Madurai in South India there is a belief that depending upon the colour of god’s dress during Chitra festival the harvest would be predicted;they forecast if it is green colour that Lord Vishnu (Kalla Azakar is the local name of Vishnu) wears when he enters the River Vaigai, then the harvest would be good so on and so forth.

In the same way Thai people believed if the Sankranti falls on a particular day of the week certain things will happen. Those seven days are the seven daughters of Kabila.

 

  • Sunday: TungsateveeRed dress, preferred wild fruit, discus in the right hand, shell in the left hand, garuda as the vehicle.

 

  • Monday: Korakatevee Yellow dress with pearl ornaments, preferred butter oil, dagger in the right hand, walking cane in the left hand, tiger as the vehicle.

 

 

  • Tuesday: Ragsotevee Light red dress with agate ornaments, preferred blood, trident in the right hand, arrow in the left hand, pig as the vehicle.

 

  • Wednesday: Montatevee Emerald green dress with cats eye ornaments, preferred milk and butter, sharp iron in the right hand and walking cane in the left hand, donkey as the vehicle.

 

 

  • Thursday: Kirineetevee Greenish yellow dress with emerald ornaments, preferred nuts and sesame seeds, elephant hook in the right hand, gun in the left hand, elephant as the vehicle.

 

  • Friday: Kimitatevee White dress with topaz ornament, preferred banana, dagger in the right hand, Indian vina in the left hand, buffalo as the vehicle.

 

 

  • Saturday: Mahotorntevee Black dress with onyx ornaments, preferred hog deer, discus in the right hand, trident in the left hand, peacock as the vehicle.

 

Evidently, the prediction for the New Year will be made according to that particular day of the Nang Songkran. For example, if the preferred food of Miss Songkran is nuts and sesame seeds, it is predicted that the year will be productive, prosperous and healthy. And if the preferred food is blood, the prediction would go for a bloody year with quarrels. And if Miss Songkran prefers to carry a gun, it is predicted that the weather would be full of thunderstorms, etc. Also, at the venue where the grand Songkran Festival is organized, a procession of the Miss Songkran is indispensable for the people to appreciate the festival.

songran= Sankranti

 

Sankaranti is celebrated through out South East Asia. In Laos the people build Sand dunes. The sand dune symbolises the Hindu Holy Mountain Mount Meru. Kabila’s head was kept aloft on this mountain.. Since Buddhism celebrate yellow colour Laos people sprinkle scented water on the sand dune ,decorate it with festoons and flags and put yellow cloth on it. The offerings offered to the Stupas or sand dunes are distributed to Buddhis monks. It shows the mix up of several old customs. Hindu customs and Buddhist customs got mixed up with local beliefs.

Thailand and Laos released stamps to celebrate these festivals.

–Subham—

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