Drink and Be Wary: Drinking Water in Southeast Asia

Step Out Asia

Mineral water being poured from a bottle into ...

Water is a sacred entity in Southeast Asia. Not only is it the source of life, like anywhere else on Earth, but it takes on a higher status, or even personified, than a natural phenomenon here. Some cultures revere rivers as a goddess that blesses civilizations living along their banks. For example, the Thai word for it is mae naam, where mae means ‘mother’ in Thai.

Many Southeast Asian festivals also revolve around the celebration of water. Songkran is celebrated in Thailand and Laos where water is poured on everyone on the streets, symbolic of water’s cleansing property not only for the physical body, but also of the sins and bad karma in one’s life. Loy Krathong in Thailand sees multitudes of people releasing little krathongs, leaves or waterproof materials folded into a boat with a candle erected in the centre on board, into rivers and moats where…

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