Thailand Songkran Festival: The New Year's Water Festival
The Thailand Songkran Festival is like the Thai New Year, based on the lunar calendar. During this time every year, the Thai people spread joy and happiness throughout Thailand by throwing water and scented powders or essence onto others in a display of affection and happiness.
The Thai New Year was on April 13, 2013, but the festivities took place all last weekend and into the next week through April 16, 2013.
The Thai people practice many rituals and give offerings to the monks and temples to rid bad luck and bring longevity to the people and the community. Also known as the Water Festival, passersby can expect to become soaked in the cleansing waters of Songkran, even if not intended. People and animals alike take to the street to sprinkle water on images of Buddha and wash their hands for good luck:
"The festival of Songkran is an old tradition in Thailand. It marks the New Year according to the Thai lunar calendar. The tradition is an example of beautiful Thai culture revealing the joy, generosity, warmth, and respect of the Thai people. During Sonkran, Thai people use water and scents to convey love and amity to each other. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is determined to promote this precious tradition in order to draw the attention of tourists from around the world and invite them to participate in the delights of Songkran."
On the first day of the Thailand Songkran Festival, in Paknam City, visitors line the streets to watch the parade pass by as colorful images of Buddha and golden temples are on display. Coincidentally, April happens to be the hottest month in Thailand, so these water-filled gestures are sometimes welcome.
The Thai Authority of Tourism urges those visiting Thailand during this time to take great care of personal belongings and electronics. A waterproof camera and waterproof bag for cell phones, wallets, and cash is recommended. Clothing that you don't mind getting wet is encouraged, including waterproof shoes or sandals.
The festival is a wonderful time to experience Thailand, and is also much more than just a big water fight. Elders and monks use small amounts of water to wash themselves and douse images of the Buddha. Temples erect sand statues and much tradition is steeped throughout the cities.
Does the Thailand Songkran Festival interest you perhaps for next year’s vacation plans? How would you feel about spending four days being drenched with water by locals? Let us know in the comments below!