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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.

Effective Steps for Managing Anxiety

Have you ever been in a situation that brought on sweats, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath? You probably weren’t having a heart attack but an anxiety attack. If you suffer from anxiety disorders, learning to manage it is the first step to overcoming it.

Anxiety is characterized by extreme reactions to fearful situations. When someone follows you into a dark alley, those anxious feelings of a racing heartbeat and sweaty palms gives way to heightened senses and a rush of adrenalin that can save your life. This is the fight or flight syndrome.

In the case of frequent anxiety, the fearful feelings are dread of a particular situation and not the situation itself. Getting caught in traffic can cause an anxiety attack over what might happen when you get to work late. Starting a new job can bring on anxiety attacks. You don’t know anyone and fear of that unknown can send you into a panic.

Everyone experiences panic or anxiety in small ways. Like the fight or flight example, it can save your life. In new situations, we get panicky but when the outcome we fear fails to materialize, the anxiety stops. For someone with chronic anxiety, this is not the case.

Every situation that brings anxiety is not life-threatening. More than likely it is an extremely stressful situation that has brought on the anxiety as a way of dealing with it. The unchecked anxiety of this type can lead to depression.

If you suffer from anxiety attacks on occasion or a more frequent anxiety disorder, there are steps you can take to keep your anxiety under control.

1. See a professional. This is always a good first step. Self-diagnosis of any type of physical or mental condition is unwise and can be dangerous. A professional psychologist can help you understand your anxiety and prescribe medication or other effective techniques.

2. Get a good night’s sleep. During the sleep cycle, your body repairs itself. You feel more rested after several hours of restorative sleep, reaching the REM stage. Most people need eight hours a night which varies within an hour or two each way.

3. Exercise on a consistent basis. Exercise helps you to use oxygen more efficiently. It helps to get more oxygen to the brain. It also increases focus which may help you see solutions to problems rather than simply worrying about them.

4. Meditate. Meditation is more than chanting mantras. Yoga is an exercise that involves quieting the mind and controlling your breathing. Simple mediation such as taking 5 minutes to clear your mind every day can work wonders in the fight against anxiety.

5. Manage the worry. When you feel your pulse start to quicken, count backward from ten. As you count, focus on the situation. What has actually happened? Resist the urge to read anything more into the situation.

6. Don’t use alcohol. You might think that the glass of wine is relaxing your tension but alcohol is a depressant. In anxious situations, you could rely too heavily on it and gain another problem in the process.

7. Find some relaxing activities. Stress can rob you of your energy. On a regular basis, do something you like such as gardening, painting, reading or listening to music.

Anxiety can come into your life at any time. It’s normal. When the anxiety becomes frequent you could be at risk for more serious conditions. If you feel your anxiety is starting to take over your life or increasingly causing you problems, seek professional help immediately. There is no need to suffer this terrible condition in silence.

How Legalized Online Gambling is Better for Society

Whether gambling is healthy for society or not, should not be the question you are asking yourself. History has proven that people are going to gamble whether it is legal or not.

The question we should be asking is, by banning online gambling are we going to make things better or worse?

The answer to that question is simple, banning legalized and regulated online gambling in any form, just makes another way for organized crime to get a hold of peoples money, and then no one but the criminals wins.

If you want to keep a child from seeing an R rated movie you do not ban the movie from the theaters do you? No that would be silly you just make sure that people are doing there best to check and verify that no one under 18 gets into seeing the movie. By banning the movie chances are greater that someone will get a bootleg copy and show it to every kid in the town.

So if you want to keep a child from gambling online then all the online casinos should be regulated and monitored, not banned.

The same goes for terrorists. If you believe terrorist groups are exploiting an unregulated and unmonitored industry such as the online gambling industry, then by regulating it you can see where the money is going and make sure it is not going to fund international terrorist attacks. All that is accomplished by banning it is that the criminals get a stronger grip on the industry.

The ban on online gambling is much like the war on drugs. If marijuana was legalized in the USA crimes related to it would almost go away completely, because it would be sold in stores and it would be controlled, another advantage would be that people would no longer be going to jail for marijuana-related charges, this means thousands of fewer people getting arrested and going to jail every year, which would save us tax money that could be better spent.

By making online gambling in the USA a legalized form of adult entertainment it would also bring in an estimated 1.2 billion dollars in taxes to the American government. This money could be used for schools, police and universal healthcare for all Americans.

This is how you improve society, not by telling people what to do. It is human nature to want what we can not have so the more laws you put in place to stop people from doing something the better the chances are that people are going to do it.

People are just as likely to become addicted to gambling at a regulated casino as an unregulated one, but the difference is that in a regulated casino they will not extend you the amount of credit that will get you into trouble in an illegal casino.

And in a regulated casino, they will have information on how to get help if you have a gambling problem. In an illegal casino, they will not have this type of information, they want you to continue to gamble till you have nothing left, and then they will let you fall and find someone to take your place.

In the long run, society can only prosper if we educate people on the dangers of gambling both online and in a casino, and not from banning an industry that employs thousands of people in countries all over the world. No one gains anything from just telling people they can not do something that they are going to do anyway.

It is about time the government learned this and stopped making the same mistakes year after year.