All rights reserved. Songkran, a festival marking the Thai New Year, is all about making a fresh start with a splash. The festival in Thailand kicks off on April 13 and usually lasts three days, though festivities can start early or end later in some cities. Water plays a major role in the festival. Symbolically it washes away the previous year so people can get ready for the next one. But many other Songkran traditions use water as well. People prepare for the new year by cleaning houses, schools, offices, and other public spaces.
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An important event on the Buddhist calendar, this water festival marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. Water is an important element of Songkran, especially in more recent times when the throwing of water has become a huge part of the annual celebrations. Crowds of people roam around throwing buckets of water, using water pistols and just generally soaking anyone in the vicinity. Appreciation of family is another important aspect of the festival, with many Thai people making their way to their hometowns to spend time with older relatives. Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran where water is poured on Buddha images and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a mark of respect. Known as Songkran Day, the first day of the festival is an exuberant celebration with processions of Buddha images taking place throughout the country. The Thai people also prepare themselves for the beginning of the New Year by cleaning their houses. More importantly, April 13th is when the water throwing really gets going. Offerings are left at temples on this day to ring in the New Year, with plenty of other events also taking place. Many other celebrations are held on and around Khao San Road, which is one of the most popular streets in the world for backpackers.
5 Traditional Thai Songkran Songs
The purists will be quick to tell you that too much emphasis is put on water fighting and partying these days, and that proper tradition is being lost. So, for the record no pun intended , and some cultural appropriation, I thought I'd explore some traditional Songkran songs. The period marks a time to let go of the past and move forward, but also a time to pay respect and be grateful.
It is the largest celebration in Thailand and takes place for three to seven days in mid-April every year. During this period, the entire country celebrates by hurling water at one another and by enjoying local music, food, and fun! People pour buckets of water, aim water hoses, and fire giant, fluorescent water guns at each other. Not surprisingly, Songkran Festival has become a popular vacation destination for tourists world-wide. In fact, more than a half million visitors join in the fun and indulge in local entertainment every year. This New Year festival welcomes locals and tourists alike with open arms! Songkran, derived from the Sanskrit words "astrological passage", is interpreted as "move or change in the position of the Sun" and was originally based on the movement of Aries on the astrological chart. It signifies the start of the Thai New Year and is an occasion for family re-unions, annual house cleaning, and visiting temples. The first day of the festival is called National Elderly Day. The ritual begins with the youth pouring fragrant water into their elder's palms to show their humility while begging for their elder's blessings.