Rod-Nam-Dam-Hua is a traditional phrase in northern Thai [Lanna] dialect. It means a water-pouring ceremony to ask forgiveness and blessings from a respected elder. Village participants might wash their entire body with Kaffir lime juice first or a soap pod used for shampoo. Dam-Hua means to wash the hair, but during the annual Songkran festival Dam-Hua represents washing away life’s unfavorable conditions.
The family tradition is to reverently pour jasmine or rose perfumed water from a small bowl water onto hands of elders, senior relatives, and respected persons. At the same time a younger person asks forgiveness for wrong they’ve done against the elder in action, speech, thought, intention, or by neglect. They also wish the elder happiness and health.
As the elder catches liquid in a larger bowl with flower blossoms, they respond by touching a younger person’s head with fragrant droplets. This shows forgiveness as they speak a blessing. Sometimes elders receive a gift of clothing, cloth, or other small token. Rod-Nam-Dam-Hua is also called New Year’s Day or Songkran Day each April 15, the final day of the Songkran period.