SONGKRAN FESTIVAL HISTORY AND RITUALS
On 13TH of April every year, Songkran Festival is celebrated all around Thailand. This day marks the start of a new Buddhist year and celebrated are stretched until the 16th of April.
It is one of the largest festivals in Thailand and attracts a large number of tourists from around the globe. The Songkran celebration is rich with symbolic traditions.
Mornings begin with merit-making, visiting local temples and offering food to the Buddhist monks is commonly practised.
Another major part of the Songkran festival is throwing water.
The Thai people believe that water is spiritually purifying and it cleanses you from any bad luck, purifies you of your sins and brings good fortune for you in the coming year.
Earlier, people used to pour water on Buddha’s to cleanse them, then people started pouring them on their elders and family members to cleanse them from sins since then Songkran has developed into a water fight festival in Thailand.
Now water splashing is a prime part of this festival, as April is also the hottest month of the year in Thailand.
WHERE TO CELEBRATE?
Although this festival is celebrate all around the kingdom, and govt. allows extra holidays so that people may travel to their own cities.
But, the northern capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai is the host to the biggest celebrations of Songkran, with some of the activities stretching around 6 days.
In the north people also collect and which is taken to a local monastery. This sand is used to replenish the monastery before being sculpted into piles and decorated with colourful and celebratory flags.
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The Khao San road is undisputedly the hub of modern festivities of Songkran, as the traffic is cordon off and the atmosphere here is electric.
Local and foreigners alike hold water cannons and guns with buckets placed beside them and shower this water on all the passersby.
Traditional celebrations of Songkran take place in this ancient city in the wee hours of the morning. Where people pay alms to the monks, followed by releasing birds and fish in their natural environment.
Festive activities also take place in Pattaya with most of the activities start in the evening and continue until late at night. Late night parties, water throwing and charming competitions like Miss Songkran take place.
DO’s and DONT’s of Songkran Festival
As this is a traditional and somewhat religious festival of Thailand so there are some dos and don’ts for this event, which everyone should follow or you may land in hot waters.
- Don’t spill water on Monks, Pregnant women and babies
- Do not throw water from heights
- Don’t putt of your shirt of clothes
- Don’t bring mobile phones or gadgets that are not waterproof
There are also some do’s that you should follow to enjoy the festivities
- Do buy a waterproof bag, they are selling all around the markets during the festival, it will not cost you more than 5-6 USD. You can put your cash and mobile phones in that bag to keep them safe from water
- Do dress appropriately, as Thai people are very conservative.
- Do take part in all the festivities, and get a chance to make local friends.
Songkran is the largest festival of Thailand, attracts a huge number of tourists so it is advisable to plan your trip accordingly and book activities and hotels well before time.