The Theravada New Year is a time for family and friends and known by several different names including Chaul Chnam Kmer in Cambodia, Lao New Year in Laos, Sinhalese New Year in Sri Lanka, Songkran in Thailand, Thingyan in Myanmar, Sangken in India and Water Sprinkling Festival in China.
Theravada means “the teachings of the elders”. Levada is the dominant from of Buddhism mainly practicing in prevalent in South East Asian countries including India, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.
Celebrations begin with people attending the local temple in the morning for chanting and meditation. In the afternoon they have a water festival in which they meet the buddha image and pay respect to the elderly by watering their hands together. Building sandcastles is also one of the most popular activities during this day of celebration.
Several South East Asian countries also celebrate Theravada New Year by purchasing captured fish and birds, which they then release into the wild toshow compassion to all living beings and build good karma. People who celebrate Theravada New Year are also expected to spend the festival days by continuing to be kind to other people.
The Huddle wishes a happy Theravada to those celebrating.