Phra Pradaeng Songkran Festival

The Phra Pradaeng Songkran Festival (งานเทศกาลสงกรานต์พระประแดง), formerly known as the ‘Pak Lat Songkran Festival’, was similar to Songkran celebrated in the other regions of the country, with the notable addition of a colourful and elaborate Songkran procession staged by the Mon, or Raman, residents of Phra Pradaeng. It is also held later than the rest of the country taking place on the first weekend after 13th April. The highlight of the festival is a grand procession of floral floats carrying beautiful maidens dressed in a traditional Mon, or Raman, costume. Each holds a fish bowl in one hand and a bird cage in the other. Other maidens, accompanied by men dressed in traditional Raman costume of sarong and round-necked shirt and sash (the costume is called “choot loy chai”), walk in front of the ‘Songkran beauty queen’.

Each year the Phra Pradaeng Songkran parade features between 10 to 20 processions. Each procession is made up of a Songkran vehicle decorated with beautiful flowers. The vehicle of the lead procession transports the incumbent Miss Songkran surrounded by her entourage. She is seated and holds a replica of the severed head of the Lord Tao Maha Songkran. The procession also includes a file of graceful girls dressed in traditional Thai-Raman costumes. Some of them hold a fishbowl; others hold a birdcage and the remainder walk ahead of the Songkran vehicle. They in turn are flanked by Raman youths dressed in Choot Loy Chai costumes, consisting of a sarong, round-necked shirt and scarf which is worn with the tails dangling behind. The men’s job is to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
The procession of the Tao Maha Songkran “head” is a unique aspect of the Phra Padaeng Songkran celebrations. According to ancient beliefs, there was once a kind and benevolent god who cared greatly for mankind. His name was Tao Maha Songkran. He had seven daughters, each one a goddess representing a day of the week. The annual Miss Songkran winner is seen holding the head of Lord Tao Maha Songkran, (also known as Tao Mahapraphrom)  a gesture believed to bring good fortune to mankind.
Noted for the continued preservation of ancient customs and traditions, the Songkran festival at Phra Pradaeng is no less of an attraction and draws local and overseas tourists alike.

Each village makes its own centipede flag, which is carried in a ceremonial flag procession along the road to be draped on the swan pillars at various temples. The flag, the symbol of the Thai-Raman people, is of Buddhist significance and incorporates the spirit of unity.

A demonstration of traditional Raman games such as saba, a pitch and toss game played with beans. Various indigenous games of Thai-Raman origin being staged in designated villages from 08.30 to midnight during the festival period. In saba, a traditional Raman games, young Raman lads and lasses engage in a lively dialogue, accompanied by song and dance. This is a quaint custom, which is now rarely witnessed.

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