There are three days relevant to Songkran festival. These are 13th, 14th, and 15th of April. 13th is the ‘Great Songkran’ because it’s believed that this is the first day the sun moving into Aries. 14th of April is called ‘Wan Nao’ which meant to ‘being’ or the day which the sun already staying in the new year. 15th of April is called ‘Wan Taloengsok,’ (=New Year celebration day), this is the day the sun entering to the new year not less than one degree or completely staying in the new year.
On Songkran day, Thai people will go to the temple to maker merit, Tak-bart (offer foods to monks), and practice religion practices for happiness. Most houses will bathe Buddha image. Teenagers or younger people will go to ‘Rod Nam Dam Hua’ or pouring water on the hands of revered elders and asking for blessing. People celebrate this festival by watering each other. Songkran water festival of Thailand has been famous widespread around the world. Besides, Songkran festivals in different parts of Thailand will have some different details and have their own identities. These are proud traditions of Thai people and also attract tourists’ hearts.
One thing which has been accompanied by this festival for a long time is ‘Nang Songkran’ (Songkran Angel) contest. From the inscription at Wat Phra Chetupol Wimonmangkararam telling about Nang Songkran as a legend story. It’s said that there was a man named Thammaban Kuman who could understand birds’ language and finished studying ‘Tri Phet’ or three Vedas of the Hindu religion by seven years old only. Therefore, he was able to tell Mongkhol (merit) and gave a wish to people. However, after Tao Kabinlaphrom (a great angel) heard about this, he’s very unsatisfied and jealous because in the past there were only Tao Mahaphrom and him being able to bless. Then, he went down from his heavenly residence and asked three Dharma questions to Thammaban Kuma. If he couldn’t answer these questions correctly, he would have his head cut to dedicate to Tao Kabinlaphrom, but if he could do it, Tao Kabinlaphrom had to cut his head either.
Thammaban Kuman had only 7 days to find the answers but when the seventh day arrived he still could not find the correct ones. He went to lie leisurely under a palm tree and decided that if he had to die, let him died here better than killed by Tao Kabinlaphrom. Fortunately, there was a couple of birds talking on the tree and answering the questions to him by chance.
These questions were; 1) Where was ‘Rasi’ (or grandeur) in the morning? 2) Where was ‘Rasi’ at noon? and 3) Where was ‘Rasi’ in the night? And the correct answers were at face, chest, and feet, respectively. Therefore, Tao Kabinlaphrom had to cut his head to salute Kabinlaphrom Kuman. However, if Tao Kabinlaphrom Kuman’s head falling to the earth, the earth burned, if leaving in the air, there’d be no rain, and if leaving in the ocean, the water dried. Finally, he ordered his daughter to bring a ‘Phan’ (=tray with pedestal) to receive his head and make a procession ceremony in the sky around Kao Phra Sumen (Sumen Mountain) for 60 minutes and then kept his head in ‘Kanturee’ cave in ‘Krailas’ mountain. For this ceremony, one of his seven daughters had to do this job for a year and then shifted to others, continuously. These seven daughters meant to Nang Songkrans.
Thai people often believe that each Nang Songkran showing some different signs and affecting to future situation of the country. For example, if Songkran angel for this year was Nang Rakkasot Thewi who drank blood for food and had a cruel appearance, fortune tellers might forecast that the country face with some bad situations.
Seven Nang Songkrans
Sunday – Nang Tungsa Thewi, wearing bracelet and having ‘Dok Tabtim’ (flower of pomegranate) above her ear, jewelry made of ‘Pattamarat’ (red ruby sapphire), eating lotus, carrying chakra in the right hand and conch shell in the left, and sitting on garuda (as vehicle animal).
Monday – Nang Koraka Thewi, wearing bracelet and having ‘Dok Peab’ (flower of cork tree) above her ear, jewelry made of ‘Mukda’ (precious jewelry) sapphire, eating oil, carrying ‘Phra Kan’ (sword with both sides sharp) in the right hand and staff in the left, and sitting on tiger (as vehicle animal).
Tuesday – Nang Rakkasot Thewi, wearing bracelet and having lotus above her ear, jewelry made of ‘Mora’ (white stone) sapphire, eating blood, carrying trident in the right hand and bow in the left, and sitting on pig (as vehicle animal).
Wednesday – Nang Montha Thewi, wearing bracelet and having ‘Dok Champa’ (flower of Magnoliaceae) above her ear, jewelry made of ‘Paithoon’ (cat’s eye) sapphire, eating butter and milk, carrying needle in the right hand and staff in the left, and sitting on donkey (as vehicle animal).
Thursday – Nang Kirinee Thewi, wearing bracelet and having ‘Dok Montha’ (magnolia) above her ear, jewelry made of emerald sapphire, carrying ‘Kho-chang’ (mahout’s hook) in the right hand and gun in the left, and sitting on elephant (as vehicle animal).
Friday – Nang Kimitha Thewi, wearing bracelet and having ‘Dok Jongkolnee’ (water lily) above her ear, jewelry made of ‘Bussarakam’ (yellow sapphire), eating water banana, carrying trident in the right hand and Indian lute in the left, sitting on buffalo (as vehicle animal).
Saturday – Nang Mahothorn Thewi, wearing bracelet and having ‘Dok Samhao’ (=water hyacinth) above her ear, jewelry made of ‘Nillarat’ (black sapphire), eating meat, carrying chakra in the right hand and trident in the left, sitting on peacock (as vehicle animal).