“Sawaddee Pee-mai, kha” and “Sawaddee Pee-mai, krab” are greetings from women and men you hear all over Thailand on the 1st January. Of course, the Thai’s greetings here refer to the globalized greeting: “Happy New Year”.
Thai people have been celebrating the 1st of January as the first day of the year for less than 70 years. The celebration of January 1 as the New Year’s Day is followed the Gregorian calendar, the same as most countries across the globe. Before that, the Songkran Festival, which nowadays is fixed on 13th April, was the traditional start of the year.
Celebration for New Year’s Day begins on the eve of the New Year, on December 31. Late night parties, gathering at count down organizing places, are all to bid adieu to the year gone by and to welcome the New Year. These are traditional celebration for New Year which is carried in Thailand as well. Somewhat, specifically in Thailand, just as the clock strikes for midnight, bells are ringing, gongs at the local temples are stroke echoing, fireworks are ignited, cannons are shot to salute and welcome the New Year’ Day, then, chanting of the monks are broadcasting via televisions, radios, throughout the countries. The greetings from the King of Thailand, and top leaders of political section and religions are broadcasting throughout the countries. People hug everyone around and wish each other a “Happy New Year”. New Year’s music is roaring all over the countries. When the dawn starts, lines of monks are slowly gliding out of the temple, on to the road direct to the people who are waiting to make merit by giving food and other essentials to them. Later, some people will go for merit in releasing birds or fish and to listen to sermons by the monks.
To start the good day off on the very first day of the year, people prefer wearing the bright new clothes. In doing so, they believe in luck to be brought to them throughout the year. The joy and fun to celebrate the first day of New Year is after family gathering for good blessing from the eldest of the family, the father and the mother. Exchanging greetings, New Year gifts, parties, seeing movies, with friends and dear ones will be carried on. The celebration will be on throughout the country until 15th January.
There is also a very strong tradition to make New Year Resolutions on January 1. This is done to give away old bad habits and adopt better ones. Some of the most popular New Year resolutions include quitting smoking, giving up junk food and being punctual, be diligent to the study, keeping the good manner by not scolding, swearing, or rough speaking, etc.. Though it has been noticed that many people fail to keep their resolutions a week after New Year's Day, the importance of making a fresh New Year's Day resolution every year remains the same..