Koh Sri Chang, the 18th of April 2010 [PDN]: For over 140 years, since the reign of King Rama V, Koh Sri Chang and the nearby Koh Khram Yai have celebrated the Thai New Year ‘Wan Lai’ festival and this year was now different. Activities and entertainment included ‘Oil Pole Climbing,’ kayak races, traditional Thai dancing and the unique ‘Women Carrying, Girl Overboard’ ceremony.
The unique ‘Girl Overboard’ event is not found anywhere else in the world and involves the men, young and old, foreign or local, choosing a woman to carry into the sea with the aim of bring luck to their respective relationships. The elderly also are seen to carry their grandchildren into the sea in order to bring luck and prosperity to their later lives. This particular tradition was originally designed as a family reunion for the island, which often sent the youth far afield to work only returning home on the Thai New Year.
Many tourists and visiting Thai’s from the mainland had decided to stay overnight on the island of Koh Sri Chang in order to participate in the days festivities. This was seen as a significant boast to the stagnating islands economy which has suffered recently due to the declining tourism industry within the Kingdom.