By Chow Bilaseng Namchoom
The traditional Sangken Water Festival begun with great enthusiasm and fervour across the State on Friday morning with beating of gong, drums and cymbals and Fra-loung (bringing out images and idols of Lord Buddha to makeshift temple) ceremonies held in Theravada Buddhist inhabited districts. Sangken marks the beginning of the Tai New Year and is celebrated in a three-day water festival. The timing of the festival is calculated according to the Tai Lunar calendar, which this year begins on 14 April at 4:56:29 AM and culminates with New Year’s Day on 16 April at 09:01:10 AM.
It is an occasion for merit-making and purification. For devotees, the morning will begin with a visit to their local temple, to wash images and statues of Lord Buddha, or to clean and redecorate their house shrine. All these gestures are intended to initiate purification of the self and washing away of personal sins and bad luck in the past year. The young would pour water over the palms of the elderly as a sign of reverence. Other form of merit-making will include the usual offering of food to monks or less commonly, the release of wild creatures such as birds or fish. Most of the people during the three-day celebration would also observe the three rules of conduct: don’t work, don’t spend money and don’t tell lies.
The water throwing is at its most energetic level in places of Namsai, Empong, Phaneng, Kongmukham of Namsai district and Itanagar. Water is a symbol of not only cleanliness but also auspiciousness.
In Namsai, the ceremony was celebrated along with the 126th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at Namsai Buddha Vihara. The event was jointly organized by District Administration and Namsai Buddha Vihara Committee. Monks, Public Leaders, PRI members, HODs, Officers, Govt. Staffs, Public and devotees participated in the programme with great enthusiasm. Speaking on the occasion Chau Zingnu Namchoom, MLA cum Parliamentary Secretary announced to erect a life size statue of Dr. BR Ambedkar at Namsai Buddha Vihara complex. The head Monk of the Temple Ven Vedanta Aggadhamma Mahathero blessed the gathering and highlighted the persona of this Great Man. Earlier B. Talukdar ADC speaking on the occasion said the event is organized at Buddha Vihara on the initiative of RK Sharma, DC and with the full cooperation of Buddha Vihara Committee. The daylong celebration was culminated with the projection of Live Telecast of main function at New Delhi to PRI Members.
In Itanagar, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein participating in the celebration at Kyong (Temple) Theravada, Vivek Vihar extended his Sangken New Year greeting.
He called on locals to celebrate the festival in a more traditional way and preserve the aged-old values.
The highlight of the celebration was Soun Fra (pouring of scented water) to images of Lord Buddha and splashing of water by revellers to the passer-by and enjoying the typical Sangken snacks.
Among many festivals of the Theravada Buddhist throughout the year, the Sangken water festival represents the grandest which brings peace and prosperity to everyone.