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Sun 21 Dec 2014
Nang Songkran
Written by National Culture Commission   
Friday, 23 February 2007 01:38

The seven daughters of Kabil Maha Phrom, the god who lost his head as a wager, have their own names, but they are called as a class Nang Songkran or the Songkran Ladies. When any one of them appears in a Songkran Day parade, she rides on a certain kind of animal, seven in number and she rides it in four different postures according to the time she comes. She stands on the animal's back if she comes in the morning rides on its back if she comes in the afternoon, reclines with her eyes open if she comes in the evening, and reclines with her eyes closed if she comes past midnight. All these are based on calculations made by court astrologers. For instance, in the year 1951, the Songkran Lady named Kimitha appeared on the 13th April at 1 o'clock 17 minutes and 56 seconds in the morning. She reclined with her eyes closed on the back of a buffalo. The time she appears is when the sun first enters the sign of Aries which heralds the beginning of Songkran New Year's Day.

Every year before the advent of Songkran the royal astrologer will present his calculations to the King giving all traditional information as predicted by the calculations of the coming year. The artist attached to the court will also paint a picture based on the above information, showing the Songkran Lady and the celestial procession of the god's head. This painting with such information is hung in a convenient and conspicuous place in the Royal Palace precincts for the people's information. This traditional practice was given up many years ago, but still survives in old style printed calender sheets which find a ready demand among the folk. The four postures of the Songkran Lady on the back of her animal according to the time when she first appears as a herald of the New Year, was in the old days, a wise one. The people who were mostly illiterates were able to see at a glance when the New Year or Songkran Day begins. When they see the Songkran Lady reclining with her eyes closed on the back of a buffalo, for example, they know at once that Songkran Day will start past midnight. In such a case there will be four day's celebration instead of three as in other pictures. A picture is more easily retained in memory than a number of figures.