Deriving from the Sanskrit language,”Songkran” means to pass or to move into. The meaning implies to the passing and the moving of the sun, the moon and the other planets into one of the zodiacal orbits. And the Grand Songkran Festival which falls in Aries indicates the new era of the Thai New Year. In true spiritual sense, Songkran is a time for renewal, reflection and the cleansing of the soul.
The Songkran festival is very much related to water, since people believe that water splashing will induce abundant rainfalls in the incoming year. Water is also a symbol of fertility and is used to clean up bad things. As a result, water is used widely in different ceremonies and rites of passage. Before the current practice of vigorous and fun throwing of water in Thailand, it started with a habit of gently sprinkling scented water on the shoulder or back of friends as you wished them Sawasdee Pee Mai (Happy New Year!).
Now, tourists flocked to Thailand on this occasion to join in the water fun, anybody out on the streets will not be spared of the water throwing. However, putting the water festival aside, how many people knows the traditions, origins, and value of Songkran? As the water festival becomes more eminent, there was an uprising concern of losing the value and traditions of Songkran.
The purpose of throwing water is to wish your friends and family a happy new year and convey your blessings to the other party through water. The party that receives it gets cleansed of misfortunes and struggles from the past, while refreshes oneself for the brand new year. Between the giver and receiver, water in this context acts as a medium, a messenger/conveyor, to deliver a message, blessings, or well wishes. Water contains a message.
Extracting the idea of water being the message itself, I question about how water can expresses itself, how can it be the message? I decided to illustrate my own interpretation of Songkran using the water element.
Postcards | Website | Merchandise
A total of 5 postcards. From top left to bottom right: Abundance | Cleansing | Reflection | Blessings | Renewal
Back of the postcards.
To educate people about the origins and traditions of Songkran, the back of the postcards contain both the descriptions of the illustration and the purpose of using water during the New Year.
T-shirts & Totebag
The merchandises can be bought and worn/use during Songkran.
The purpose of the website is to sell the prints and merchandises, to announce the dates and events as well as to give some background on Songkran.
Beside it being the first few attempts at illustrations, due to the on-the-surface understanding of Songkran & Thailand, there were struggles in trying to tie both illustrations with the traditions and culture of Songkran. I was hoping by choosing the right color themes from Thailand Art or themes that represent strongly on Thailand could help with the bridging of the two together.
There were also struggles in trying to put both illustrations and text together on the same page for the website. Because the display of illustrations by itself is strong enough (due to the strong lines), I had to manage the illustrations to tone it down a little such that the hierarchy in the text will come forward. It was probably one of my weakest point in designing and I definitely learn a lot from it.
In all, I am glad I was pressed on to trying something different. Conceptualising an idea from water was interesting and new, even though the struggle is real, I did learn something from this project.
DV3000 – Visual Communication III
Graphic design, Website
Art, Design & Media Library
27 March 2015
29 April 2017
Copyright. All rights reserved.