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  • Water in Culture

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    Water in Culture

    Many of us take water for granted. After all, it’s such a big part of our everyday lives, that it almost becomes ‘part of the furniture’. For many others across the world, however, it is a vital part of their culture or celebrations. Here we take a little time to explore the significance of water in certain cultures: Songkran In Thailand, Songkran is a celebration of New Year’s Day. Unlike our celebrations of the New Year which typically involve drinking and merriment out on the town, the Songkran festival is akin to one giant water fight. Having said that, don’t think that because you’re in Thailand for the New Year you can throw water over everyone. First of all, we’re not talking the Western New Year, but more a traditional lunar celebration that is now set to April 13 th-15th each year. Here’s a little Thai language lesson to help you. To pass on your well wishings for the New Year, simply add ‘pi mai’ to the greeting ‘sawatdi’. In this way you change ‘hello’ to ‘happy New Year’. This may also use a different expression: ‘suk san wan songkran’. But when they’re throwing water at you unexpectedly, they’ll probably be happy to hear you say any kind of nice greeting! The rain dance The common image associated with rain dances is a Native American chanting in his native tongue in order to bring rain during times of drought. Invariably, this image is a sepia-tinted look back at the past. But in reality, rain dances are still a common occurrence today. In England we certainly don’t need a rain dance to bring the rain, but in other countries it can be used in a ritualistic way to encourage rain to help growing crops. World Water Day Each year this event is held so people can truly appreciate the struggles many people face without access to clean water. While this is not part of any particular culture as such, the event celebrated its 20th anniversary this year so has become an institution in its own right.