Thailand’s Songkran festival is a one-of-a-kind experience where the entire national celebrates Thailand’s New Year by splashing water at each other, dancing, drinking, and having fun for four straight days.
The entire festival lasts four days long, starting on the 13th of April and ending on the 15th of every year.
Songkran’s traditional four days
The Songkran is celebrated over a period of four days:
On the first day of Songkran, the Thais clean and wash their houses. This day is considered important as it symbolizes a gesture of purification by washing away bad deeds done throughout the year.
On the second day of the festival, called wan nao (cold day), people carry sand to the temple compounds for building pagodas.
These sand piles are supposed to represent personal pagodas as a significance of a merit-making ritual and a symbol of atonement for what has been taken from society.
They also put flags on the sand pagoda for bringing luck and as a reverence.
The third day is Thailand’s actual new year. It is called wan payawan. Traditionally, the people will visit temples and present food and clothing to the monks.
At the temples, they will perform a ritual of bathing the image of Buddha with jasmine-scented water.
On the last day, children pay homage to their elders and ancestors by pouring water gently over their hands and shoulders with a recitation of New Year blessings and chants.
In the temples, Buddha statues are brought out in the open-air for worshippers to sprinkle water on them.
Water splashing, partying, and drinking!
The festival of Songkran mixes the traditional religious rituals with fun of spraying water on each other, playing loud music, dancing, and consuming a lot of alcohol.
The goal is to enjoy yourself as much as possible.
The festival is celebrated throughout Thailand, though in Bangkok it happens on a much larger scale.
The traditional rituals start in the morning at Sanam Luang ground in front of the Grand Palace, and gradually spreads all over Bangkok.
Khaosan Road, Silom, and RCA are the heaviest and liveliest places to be during this festival.
What exactly does Songkran celebrate?
This is one of the most important and beloved festival of Thailand. It also happens to be one of the most awaited festivals of the year.
The word Songkran indicates the entry of the sun into the particular zodiac sign of the Aries. The complete name of the festival is Maha Songkran.
Songkran is the celebration of the vernal equinox, similar to other festivals around the world, like that of the Christian festival of Easter, the Indian Holi festival, or the Chinese Ching Ming.