Songkrans past

Songkrans past

What was Songkran like decades ago? Old Bangkok Post photos show it was not all that different from today.

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Songkrans past

The Songkran I remember best must have been around 1970. I was teaching a summer programme in Songkhla with about 10 other young American teachers and three of us decided to join in the fun in the market area of the town. At 6' 4" (1.93 meters), I am tall but my two friends were even taller at 6' 6" (1.98m) and 6' 8" (2.03m). Together we walked down the centre of road into the market. Needless to say we made very good targets.

Here are some photos from Songkrans past that are featured in the Life section of today's Bangkok Post.

This photo from April 13, 1961, shows a parade for Phra Buddha Sihing — the god who guards over Chiang Mai — featuring various decorated floats as well as some aspiring beauty queens.

Children from the Din Daeng slums have a splashing good time on April 13, 1973.

 Songkran isn’t just about beautiful women, as the ‘Mr Songkran’ bodybuilder contest that took place at Dusit Zoo on April 13, 1977, shows.

Songkran ladies on their "chariots" make their way through Chiang Mai on April 13, 1978.

 A procession of Songkran beauties in Chiang Mai, April 14, 1988.

Splashing buses with buckets of water isn’t a new phenomenon, as evidenced in this picture taken on New Petchaburi Road on April 13, 1992.

Beauty is only skin deep. This Chiang Mai grandma takes part in a beauty contest on April 14, 1987.

A minibus passenger takes it all in good spirit on Ram Intra Road on April 13, 1987.

™This police patrolman is assigned to keep law and order in Bangkok Noi, but a young woman makes sure he doesn’t miss out on the fun, on April 14, 1985.

™In this picture from April 13, 1978, an over-enthusiastic Songkran reveller at Sanam Luang is escorted by a policeman to Chanasongkram Police Station to cool (and dry) off.

A girl’s face is smothered in powder in Huai Khwang, April 14, 1988.

Learn from listening

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  • aspire: to want to achieve something or to be successful - ตั้งปณิธาน
  • bucket: a container with an open top and a handle, often used for carrying liquids - ถัง
  • chariot: typically a vehicle with two wheels and no roof that was pulled by horses in races and battles in ancient times  - ราชรถ
  • contest: a competition - การแข่งขัน
  • decorate: to make something look more attractive by putting nice things on it or in it - ประดับ, ตกแต่ง
  • enthusiastic: showing a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and an eagerness to be involved in it - กระตือรือร้น
  • escort: to go with someone - คุ้ม
  • float: a large vehicle on which people dressed in special costumes are carried in a festival - ขบวนรถแห่ในงานรื่นเริง
  • guard: to watch a place carefully to protect someone from attack, to prevent something from being stolen, or to prevent someone from escaping - เฝ้ายาม, ดูแล, รักษาความปลอดภัย
  • needless to say: obviously; clearly - แน่นอน
  • order: a situation in which everything is well organized or arranged - ความเป็นระเบียบเรียบร้อย
  • passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
  • patrolman (noun): a police officer who walks or drives around an area to make sure that there is no trouble or crime - ตำรวจสายตรวจ, พลลาดตระเวน
  • phenomenon (plural phenomena): something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something which is unusual or interesting - ปรากฏการณ์
  • procession (noun): a line of people, vehicles or boats, often, but not always, moving in a slow and formal way as part of an event - ขบวนที่เคลื่อนไป, ขบวนรถ
  • reveller: someone who enjoys themselves at a celebration or noisy party by singing, dancing or by drinking alcohol - ผู้ืที่ออกมาโห่ร้อง เต้นรำเพื่อการเฉลิมฉลอง
  • smother (verb): to cover something/somebody thickly or with too much of something - ทำให้ปกคลุมด้วย
  • spirit (noun): a mood, a feeling - อารมณ์
  • splash: to hit something noisily with a liquid - กระเด็นเปื้อน, สาดกระเด็น
  • target (noun): an object that someone tries to hit or capture - เป้า
  • various: several different - หลากหลาย, ซึ่งแตกต่างกัน

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