While Thailand has been relatively peaceful for nearly a year since May’s military coup, the legend of the Songkran Queen predicts the next 12 months will be bloody and violent.
So goes the legend of Ragsotevee, one of seven fabled daughters of King Kabilaprom, who cut off his own head after losing a bet to his son, Prince Thammaban. His daughters then had to take turns carrying their father’s head around a mountain, never letting it hit the ground for fear that fire and drought would engulf the world.
The Songkran Queen of 2015 “Ragsotevee” riding a pig.
The daughter carrying the head on Songkran Day – April 14 this year – is designated that year’s Queen Songkran. This year, that duty falls to Tuesday’s princess, Ragsotevee.
Dressed in a light red dress with agate ornaments, she will lead parades throughout the kingdom on the back of a pig, carrying a trident in her right hand and an arrow in her left.
The ascension of each princess brings prognostications from fortune tellers and soothsayers for Thailand’s prospects in the coming year. With a taste for blood, Ragsotevee generally inspires divinations of bloody conflict and violence.
Ironically, Songkran week began with a car bombing at Central Festival Koh Samui that injured seven people.
Tatchol Thepkampanat, director of the Institute of Cultural Studies, said the predictions of the Songkran Queen are not credulous and are mainly a warning note for people to be extra careful during this time of the year and for them to plan to prevent possible disasters in advance.
The word ‘Songkran’ originates from Sanskrit meaning “to move past or to change place.” It refers to the sun’s movement past one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac to another until it completes the circle and marks a new year according to the lunar calendar.
In Pattaya, the festival has been under way for days with water wars raging throughout the city. It will come to a finale in Naklua April 18 and in Pattaya and Jomtien Beach April 19. The festival comes to a close with the April 20 rice festival.