Songkran is the Thai New Year’s National Holiday. Songkran is on April 13theach year but the celebrations continue for many days. In 2018 the Thai Cabinet extended the national holiday to 5 days to enable many people to travel home to their provinces and villages. This year Songkran will be officially from 13-15 but can be celebrated in some areas from 12-19 April
Traditional Songkran – Derived from the Sanskrit it means the shift of the sun in the zodiac from Pisces to Aries and therefore New Year in accordance with the solar calendar. Traditionally for Songkran, Thai’s dress up in colourful clothing. They will go to the Temple, offer food to the monks, and remember their ancestors, water is poured on Buddha statues as well as on the feet of young and elderly people representing purification and the washing away of sins and bad luck. The Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual is particularly poignant as young people pour fragrant water into the palms of their elders as a gesture of humility and to ask for their blessings.t is a quiet and subdued tradition in comparison to modern Songkran
Modern Songkran – Having already celebrated New Year on January 1stand Chinese New Year in February, it’s time for another celebration! As April is the hottest time of the year a lot of water is involved. Songkran has evolved from a traditional bowl of water poured onto family, neighbours and friends to was away the misfortunes from the past year and welcome the new year with a fresh start. However the small bowl of water has escalated into the World’s largest water fight with buckets, pressure water guns and large tubs of iced water carried in the back of pickup trucks.
Some words of caution! If you don’t want to get wet, stay at home! Basically everywhere that you go there will be people with water ready to soak you. Wear simple light clothing and join in the fun. If you need to have your phone with you, make sure you have it inside a special water-proof carrier, you will find these on sale everywhere. It will be impossible to stay dry, orget looking smart, dress colourfully and join in!
Bangkokchanges from a business/cultural city to a very wet caecotrophy of people, music and water, lots of it! Probably the wildest area is Silom where thousands gather to soak and get soaked. Khao San Road is also lively, the lower end of Soi Cowboy is great fun as all join in and the water battles from side to side are monumental. Basically every street and district will celebrate so just beware when you venture out.
Pattayais famous for extending the celebrations to a full week probably until April 19ththis year! As bars line half the streets in Pattaya and with the bar owners happy to provide large barrels of water to reload your water gun and cold beers on hand, virtually every Soi in this crazy city offers water battles of epic proportions.
Chiang Maialso pulls out all the stops for Songkran especially around the Tha Pae Gate though both the old city and Loi Kroh road will be active and wet. Naturally the moat of the old city and the Ping Rivers are natural water sources!
Songkran is the Thai’s major festival, it has a deep traditional meaning yet the fun of bright clothing, water everywhere and smiling faces as both Thais and visitors act like children again!