A Happy Thai New Year

Songkran (เทศกาลสงกรานต์) is a Thai’s new year eve, due to which it is considered the most important festival of Thailand. It is also known as “Water Festival”. The word Songkran has come from Sanskrit word which means ‘passing or approaching’. The event has a great significance in Buddhist calendar. This year it is going to be held from April 13th -15th 2023. Officially, the event lasts in 3 days but usually the celebrations remain continue till whole week. It’s a three-day National Holiday in the country, People from all over the Thailand and even world travel back to their cities to take part in the holy ceremonies. In a very short period of time the festival has gained popularity among tourists too.

What is Songkran Festival?

Songkran is a Traditional Thai New Year which is determined according to the movement of the sun from one zodiac position (Pisces) to a new one (Aries). It is also known as Water Splashing Festival. During this time of the year, water is splashed on the statues of Buddha for good luck as a renewal of Buddhism.

Beside statues, People of this region splash water at each other, that symbolizes cleaning and purification. The purpose of this act is to wash out all the worries and bad luck of the past year, with the intention to enter the new year as a clean slate.

The Buddhist followers visit the temples to make wishes for good luck and happiness for the coming year.

Picture Credit: Anthony Bouch | Flickr

How Songkran is Celebrated?

Water is a main element, so the event is all about water –war. People drive the trucks with huge water containers through the streets and spray water at everyone who comes in sight. Likewise, water guns, buckets, water hoses or balloons all are acceptable. In recent years, Songkran has become popular among foreigners too, where they armed with water pistols fight with Thai community and celebrate this festival whole heartedly. Parade, dancing and music remains continue whole week.

So if you’re planning to visit Thailand during this time of the year, so get ready to be splashed…!

First day of Songkran Festival

The first day of the festival is an enthusiastic celebration with the procession of Buddha images taking place through the country. Thai people used to clean their houses for the beginning of new year.13th April is a day when the water throwing get started.

Second day of Songkran

The second day of the festival is also known as Wan Nao. It’s an old Thai new year eve and takes place on 14th April. The followers pour water into the hands of an elder to seek forgiveness and blessings. People visit each other homes and spend quality time. This day also marks a Family day.

Third day of Songkran

The third day of Songkran is known as Wan Payawan (Bathing Buddha Day). At this day, new year officially begins. People celebrate it with parades, water fights, street food and much more.

Where to celebrate Songkran Festival in 2023?

Songkran festival is usually celebrated all over the Thailand, However, if you really want to witness festivities closely then Bangkok and Chiang Mai have more to entertain its visitors as compared to small towns and villages. Similarly, northern areas of Thailand have longer celebrations than southern parts.

Picture Credit: John Shedrick

Songkran in Bangkok

The capital of the country is a most exciting place to enjoy Thai New year. During this particular time of the year tourists come in gatherings to take part in the colorful festivities. 

Majority of the people gather here to splash water on one another with the help of buckets, water guns and hoses. Sound of laughter’s and happiness can be seen everywhere. People visit temples and also construct sand pagodas for merit making. At Sanam Luang (opposite to Grand palace) you can admire the statue of Buddha, where followers of Buddhism sprinkle scented water on the statue for good luck.

During the celebrations mostly buildings, banks, markets and even restaurants remain close. However, big malls usually stay open. 

(Tip: if you want to stay dry and want some peace then you can visit there).

Songkran in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mia is the most fun place located in the north of Thailand and hosts the biggest celebrations of the festival in the world. Water fights can be seen everywhere, due to this attraction, April –May bring hundreds of overseas tourists to this part of the South east Asia. Ping river, and its nearby canals or lakes can be seen fully jam- packed. 

On second day, followers participate in the parade while carrying Buddha images. Similarly, on third day, People pay tribute to their ancestors and elders.

Songkran in Phuket

In Phuket, the Songkran festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The streets are decorated with bright colors, and people come out of their homes to celebrate. Main event of the Phuket Songkran festival takes place in the Old Town of Phuket. Patong Beach is a most recommended place to enjoy the festivities. Live music, traditional Thai dance performances and parades can be seen there.

In conclusion, The Songkran festival is an unforgettable experience, and tourists from all over the world come to join in the celebrations. It is a time to let go of the past and to welcome the new year with open arms. If you happen to be in Thailand during the festival, make sure to join in the fun and experience this unique tradition

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Tips before going on Songkran Festival

  • Say “sawadee bee mai”, which means Happy New year
  • It’s all about water –fun, so don’t get angry
  • If you want to avoid water splash, then stay indoor
  • Use water proof stuff to protect valuables
  • Use water proof cameras or go pro
  • Buy a large water gun to store more water
  • Don’t wear white outfits
  • Monks are respected in Thailand, Don’t throw or splash water on them
  • Avoid to ride motor bikes during festival, as it may get slipped
  • Tile floors can be slippery, have a control on your feet
  • Don’t swallow water, you can’t determine is that drinkable or not…?

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Have a Safe Journey…!!!