The New Year is a big deal in Thailand. In rural Thailand it is not about the parties and confetti and general debauchery many in the states might experience (although this PCV managed to find that in BKK!) but as a time to give gifts and celebrate community. My community celebrates with colorful lights strung everywhere, speeches by dignitaries, and gifts given by the local government to everyone. Because there is an election soon in my community – the head of the city council recently died – the gift giving was interrupted. Thai rules about officials giving gifts around election time are strictly enforced, at least publicly.
Thailand’s traditional New Year takes place in mid-April, Songkran. The Western tradition of ringing in the new year on December 31 is an adopted celebration for Thais. In 1940, January 1 became the beginning of the year officially. The traditional Thai New Year however is a national holiday, as is January 1.
Because it is a four day holiday, many PCVs leave town to get together. I headed for BKK and spent the weekend at the Banyan Tree Resort with Margy. We had a great time meeting up with other PCVs (always a treat), eating great food, shopping, getting my computer repaired (hoping it will limp along for another year), relaxing by the pool, getting an amazing massage, and ringing in the new year in the company of a fun international crowd of 20 somethings who included us in an amazing evening of dancing, drinking (we didn’t buy one drink!), and so much fun! They were from around the globe – the Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, Italy, America, Australia, and Germany…the ones I remember! A different NYE for me and a memorable one.
The tessabaan staff gave the nayok and his advisors shirts for the NY.
We clearly left rural Thailand behind! Banyan Tree was spectacular!
Always so much fun to get together with PCVs. Bourbon Street is a fairly new restaurant and a Louisiana treat!
With Margy and one of the characters helping ring in the NY.
Doug from the Bay Area and his friend, a dentist from Germany.