Sometimes you can be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. This happened for us when we were in Warnambool just for the weekend and were lucky enough to stumble across the Songkran Festival, or Thai New Year festival which was being held in Lake Pertobe Park.
It was last weekend when we stumbled across it when visiting the Farmers Market held in the same place. Stalls were being prepped with food, a stage set for entertainment, Thai ladies were congregating in their beautifully coloured silk clothes and a table of monks were sitting awaiting the days entertainment under cover.
Our second stroke of luck was to sit at a table to eat some of the tasty food on offer and strike up a conversation with a local lady, also thai, who filled us in on a lot of the customs and goings on.
She informed us that there were 2 buddhist monks in Warrnambool but the others at the festival had come from all over Victoria to join in the celebration. The monks were offerred food before midday as is the custom and later we watched as people lined up to take cups of water to pour over the monks hands to represent purification.
There was a large array of food to buy so it would just be wrong not to try a little of most things. Spring rolls, fish skewers, dumplings and much more was on offer from Thai restaurants in Warrnambool. The lady we befriended even offered us some Thai sweets, very tasty green coloured sticky rice and coconut balls.
Then the entertainment began with the ladies dancing, their intricate costumes and hand movements something to see. There was a demonstration of Muay Thai martial arts and children dancing too.
One of the customs that didn’t take place on this occasion was the spraying of everyone with water. It’s also known as a water festival but due to the cool and cloudy weather they decided to forgo that, but all in all a very colourful and interesting event that we were lucky to catch. Songkran could be happening in some places this weekend so keep your eyes and ears open to any celebrations happening near you.
Sa was dee pee mai (Happy New Year)