Songkran or Water Festival is one of Thailand’s most important celebrations in accordance to Buddhism, marking the start of traditional Thai New Year and taking place every April. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word for ‘astrological passage’, which refers to ‘passing’, ‘approaching’ or ‘transformation’.
The traditional water festival involves Thai people splashing water on their elders, family members, close friends, and neighbors as a way of seeking good fortune. On the first day of Songkran, an exuberant celebration with Buddha images procession takes place throughout the country. Many other rituals are held on the streets and around local temples.
WHEN DOES SONGKRAN OCCUR?
The official holiday runs from the 13th up to the 15th of April but the festivities may last a week or more. Before Thailand adopted the international New Year’s Day in 1940, Songkran was dependent on the Lunar Calendar of Thailand. Now, it is fixed mid-April anually. The festivities vary depending on which part of the country you are in.
SONGKRAN FESTIVAL IN MODERN DAYS
Evolved over the years, nowadays, Songkran Festival is characterized by flux of crowds, roaming around and soaking each other. People gather along the streets, using water pistols, water hoses, and super soakers, throwing buckets of water, and basically water-attacking anyone around.
Although the celebration of Songkran may have changed, Thai people still treasure this holiday and find a great opportunity to return to their hometowns and spend time with their families. Still, Buddhists maintain everlasting traditions to pray at the temples, then to pour water on the images of Buddha and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a sign of respect.
BEST PLACES TO JOIN SONGKRAN