Thailand ushers into a new year with the celebration of Songkran. While the official dates of the festival are from April 13-15, the manner and timing of the celebrations vary across provinces.
The water fights are known for their vitality in central and eastern Thailand. They occur several days after other parts of the country have concluded their festivities and put away their water pistols until the next year. Similarly, the people of Chonburi province observe the Wan Lai Festival from April 16-20.
What is Wan Lai Festival?
Wan Lai is a Thai term that means “day that flows”. Thai people often club the Wan Lai Festival with the last days of Songkran as it is an additional holiday to the Thai New Year.
The origins of the Wan Lai Festival are deeply rooted in the history and tradition of Thailand. It started as a practice to honour the gods and ensure a bountiful harvest.
Today, the festival incorporates modern twists while retaining its traditional elements, making it a true reflection of Thailand’s vibrant cultural heritage.
Held annually in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla, the Wan Lai Festival is a burst of colour and activity that captivates both locals and tourists alike.
How is Wan Lai Festival Celebrated?
Water fights, parades, cultural performances, and food characterise the festival. It is a time for people to forget their differences and unite harmoniously to celebrate the New Year.
One of the most significant aspects of the Wan Lai festival is the water fights. People throw water at each other using buckets, guns, and hoses. The water fights are fun and a way to cool off during Thailand’s hot and humid weather.
Apart from the water fights, the Wan Lai festival is known for its colourful parades. People dress in traditional costumes and parade through the streets, showcasing their cultural heritage. The parades are accompanied by music and dance performances, making it a joyous occasion for everyone.
Local Thai Food to Try during Wan Lai Festival
Another important aspect of the Wan Lai festival is the food. Traditional Thai delicacies are prepared and served during the festival. The food is not only delicious but also reflects the cultural diversity of Thailand.
Some of the popular dishes include:
Tom Yam: A popular Thai soup renowned for its spicy and tangy flavours and is typically prepared with prawns or shrimp.
Pad Thai: It is no surprise that this dish has become a beloved component of Thailand’s rich culinary heritage. Pad Thai comprises mouth-watering ingredients such as rice noodles, succulent shrimp, crunchy peanuts, a fluffy scrambled egg, and crisp bean sprouts.
Som Tam: Made from fresh green papaya, Som Tam salad boasts the perfect balance of sour, spicy, sweet, and salty flavors.
Satay: It’s a classic Thai dish with sliced marinated chicken accompanied by a sauce obtained from peanuts and chilli sauce, topped with shredded shallots, sambal (chilli paste), and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
Liked this post? Pin it for Later
The Popular Sand Sculptures of Bang Saen Beach
Every year, during the Wan Lai Festival in Bang Saen, a magnificent display of up to 100 meticulously crafted sand sculptures grace the shoreline.
These awe-inspiring creations are predominantly in the form of sand pagodas, also known as chedi sai. They encompass diverse structures, including tuk-tuks, elephants, and mermaids, all brought to life through the magical medium of sand.
Wan Lai is a time for reflection and renewal. It is a time for people to unite and strengthen their bonds with family and friends. It is a time to let go of the past and look forward to a brighter future.
Wan Lai encourages people to forgive and forget and start afresh. The festival also serves as a reminder to preserve and promote Thai culture and traditions for future generations.
If you ever get the chance to visit Thailand during the second week of April, do not miss the opportunity to experience the Wan Lai festival.