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The Songkran Festival is a traditional Thai New Year's celebration that takes place annually from April 13th to 15th. It is known for its water-throwing festivities, where people pour water on each other as a symbol of purification and the washing away of sins and bad luck.

The name Songkran comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti, which means "astrological passage," and marks the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season in Thailand.

During the festival, people also visit temples, offer food to Buddhist monks, and participate in cultural activities such as parades and traditional dances. The holiday is an important time for families to come together and pay respect to their elders, as well as for friends to reunite and celebrate the start of a new year.

In recent years, the water-throwing aspect of Songkran has become more of a party atmosphere, with many young people taking to the streets to splash water on each other and engage in friendly water fights. Despite this shift in tone, the festival remains an important cultural tradition in Thailand, and is recognized as a public holiday across the country.

In addition to the water-throwing festivities, Songkran also involves other traditional customs and practices. One of the most important is the pouring of scented water on Buddha images, which symbolizes the washing away of bad luck and the accumulation of merit. This practice is known as "Rod Nam Dum Hua" and is considered a way to pay respect to one's ancestors and elders.

Another important aspect of Songkran is the creation of sand pagodas. Thai people often visit the beach during the holiday to build intricate sand structures that are believed to bring good luck and blessings. These pagodas are adorned with flowers, incense, and candles, and are seen as a way to honor Buddha and the teachings of Buddhism.

Songkran is also a time for delicious food and traditional sweets, such as "kanom tom," a sweet dessert made of sticky rice and coconut milk, and "khanom krok," a small cake made from rice flour and coconut milk. Additionally, many Thai people wear traditional clothing during the festival, such as "chut thai," which consists of a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wrap-around skirt for women.

Overall, the Songkran Festival is a time for joy, happiness, and togetherness. It is an opportunity for Thai people to reconnect with their cultural roots, pay respect to their elders, and celebrate the start of a new year with family and friends.

How To Keep Yourself Healthy In The Winter

Published on 12/05/2019
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Keeping yourself happy and healthy is important 12 months out of the year, but it becomes a bit more challenging to keep up with normal health routines around the holiday season, especially if you live somewhere that gets cold and gloomy throughout the few winter months. You can’t go out as often because of the weather, and it seems to constantly be dark outside. All of these difficulties add up quickly to create a hard time from November through February. We’re here to give you some tips on how to make these months a little less stressful on your everyday lifestyle.

How To Keep Yourself Healthy In The Winter

Eat Even More Fruits And Vegetables Than Normal

In the winter months it can be very easy to use the holidays as an excuse to forget about your healthy eating habits and eat all of the cookies and mashed potatoes that come your way, but we promise you will feel much better if you are more conscious about how many fruits and vegetables you eat throughout the day as well. Of course, eating sweets and unhealthy foods is perfectly okay, but don’t let that become the staple of your diet. Many people forget that their health is still on the line when it’s holiday time, but don’t let yourself become one of those people. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into food items at the dinner table, like eating a side of carrots or broccoli with your mashed potatoes, can be a good way to get the best of both worlds this season.

Take Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D is one of the vitamins that is less-frequently spoken about but needs to receive just as much attention as anything else. Vitamin D is produced naturally by your body when your skin interacts with the sun, which is why people who live in climates that get cold tend to become vitamin D deficient when it’s winter. When you interact with the sun, your body produces vitamin D which has many health benefits, including strong bones and a rockstar immune system. Vitamin D deficiencies can make you feel weak and fatigued, and that is the last thing you want during the winter when you already just want to stay inside and sit by the fire all day.

Don’t Become A Couch Potato

Despite the fact that the air is frigid and the ground is full of snow or ice, try to do one thing every day that will get you up onto your feet and moving around. Instead of spending your whole weekend in bed, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day; this will help your body keep up with its routine of getting up and doing something as you would during the week. Whether it’s taking up winter sports, taking a brisk walk around the block, or just going to the grocery store and back, getting outside and doing something– and seeing the natural sunlight– will do wonders for both your physical and mental health.

“Healthy” Foods That Are Actually Unhealthy

Published on 04/25/2021
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Almost every week there is a new superfood or ingredient that should help you shed extra pounds, boost your energy and strengthen your immune system. For decades, food companies have been trying to convince their customers to buy products that are full of additives, chemicals, and other questionable items. And while many of them are marketed as particularly healthy, these products can have negative effects on your health. Here are some supposedly “healthy” foods and their better alternatives.

“Healthy” Foods That Are Actually Unhealthy

Granola

Granola is the healthy breakfast alternative to sweet donuts or pancakes with syrup? Unfortunately not – granola is full of sugar (8 to 12 g per serving) and empty calories and should therefore be considered a dessert. Ingesting a large amount of sugar in the morning can be detrimental to your health. Studies show that increased sugar intake is linked to a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, and obesity. You can avoid this by simply making your own granola (or granola / granola bars) at home with nutrient-rich ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for natural sweetness. If you want to leave out granola entirely, just use chia seeds or hemp seeds as a crispy alternative to your yogurt or bowl of oatmeal!

Processed Fruit Juices

Even if you used to think that fruit juice was healthy – now you should definitely cross it off your shopping list. It contains a high and concentrated dose of fructose, but without the beneficial fiber that you get from whole foods. The same fiber has numerous benefits and helps you slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, avoiding sudden sugar shocks or hypoglycaemia. It also reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Diet Snacks

Snacks such as vegetable chips are considered a healthy snack between meals and an alternative to high-fat products such as potato chips. However, many of the store-bought brands are deep-fried and are usually high in sodium, fat, and other artificial additives that you should absolutely avoid.
So how about homemade vegetable chips made from carrots, courgettes, radishes or cabbage? Fat-free popcorn, roasted chickpeas, or roasted pumpkin seeds are also healthy alternatives.

Artificial Sweetener

Artificial sweeteners are mostly hidden in “healthy” foods, but they are actually harmful to your health. Studies show that sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin can even stimulate your appetite and lead to food cravings. This subsequently leads to weight gain (possibly even obesity) and a deterioration in your intestinal health. You should definitely avoid diet foods with artificial sweeteners. Sweeten your food yourself. With fresh fruit, stevia, raw honey or maple syrup you can season your meals naturally and so satisfy your cravings for sweets – without any additional chemicals or other no-gos.