Thais find novel way to mark virus-hit Songkran

NONTHABURI, Thailand: Thai temple-goers poured water into the hands of monks Wednesday (Apr 15) using a bamboo pole decorated with mangoes and bananas – keeping in line with social distancing while honoring the country's New Year traditions.

The three-day holiday – known as Songkran – is renowned for its booze-fueled water fights that take over entire neighbourhoods.

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This year however the government banned all street celebrations to prevent the spread of coronavirus, making it the quietest in living memory as the holiday came to a sombre end on Wednesday.

Still, Thais were able to visit temples during Songkran to take part in its more traditional aspects.

At Wat Suan Kaew temple north of Bangkok, dozens of worshippers waited patiently to pour water over the abbot's hands – an act Buddhists believe will wash away past misdeeds.

The government has urged all Thais to remain at home AFP/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA

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READ: Songkran festival cancelled as Thailand combats COVID-19

Abbot Prayom Kullayano is separated from them with a two-metre-long bamboo pole acting as a funnel, a "new innovation" by his temple, he said.

He had also installed a sanitising gate at Wat Suan Kaew's entrance, and the sprawling complex included an area where volunteers made face masks.

For those who feel lonely from self-isolation, "it will bring joy when they see this kind of environment," Prayom said.

"It's better than doing nothing," said Cherdchai Aangtong, 63, after he tooRead More – Source

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