Songkran Festival Ushers into the New Year
The Songkran festival is Thailand’s New Year, celebrated between the 13th and 15th of April. Traditionally the week of Songkran is full of symbolism; people take out a religious procession, visit temples and participate in parades, pageants, and more.
People clean the streets, and the pulsating music of drums and gongs brings the holy Buddhist sites to life.
Chiang Mai, the northern city of Thailand, lights up with a religious procession that begins at Nawarat Bridge up to the Thapae Gae before approaching Wat Prasingh, its final destination. People from around the country contribute to this air of festivity.
Did You Know?
Songkran finds its etymological roots in the ancient Sanskrit language, where the word Samkrant connotes the profound notion of metamorphosis or transition.
The Fun Begins with Songkran Festival
As soon as the religious parade ends, the fun begins! People take to the streets for splendid revelry. Water fills the street; children come out guns blazing! (of course, water guns) with apologetic smiles and the slogan “Sawaatde Pi Mai”, meaning ‘Happy New Year’.
Adults, children, and animals participate in this ebullient occasion. You will witness elephants playfully sprinkling water on people. It is one of the most captivating sites.
The Days of Wan Nao and Wan Payawan
The Thai people celebrate this three-day festival with all the zest and piousness. People indulge in energetic water games and religious ceremonies.
On the 14th and 15th of April, known as Wan Nao and Wan Payawan, devotees visit temples and offer clothes and food to the monks, the underprivileged, and the less fortunate.
As a part of their custom, the Thai people pour water on Lord Buddha to rid themselves of bad luck and partake in other religious rituals with the expectation of welcoming a prosperous new year.
The mystical and religious aura that the festival adorns complements famous Thai hospitality. Anyone visiting Thailand during this time of the year experiences profound joy.
Songkran as Sangken in Northern Thailand and India
The Sangken festival is one of the finest examples among the innumerable evidence of Indo-Thai cultural coexistence.
In northern Thailand, Songkran, known as Sangken, is the traditional New Year of the Buddhist community residing in that area. The festival falls in Naun Hai (the fifth month of the Thai Lunar calendar), and people observe it as a fitting goodbye to the last days of the year.
The Sangken festival is also the Indian version of the splashy and water-dousing Thai New Year. It is celebrated by the indigenous tribal community, mainly the Phakyal tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and the Taii Phake tribes of Assam.
Tryst with an Idyllic Adventure
If you plan your next trip to Thailand, ensure you land there between the 13th and the 15th of April.
You will surely be mesmerized by the palpable excitement of Songkran, the water festival you must experience! During the fest, Thailand is drenched in an idyllic adventure, except for the local monks, who are highly revered.
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Best Places to Celebrate Songkran Festival
Khao San Road (Songkran Bangkok): It is indisputably the epicentre of a lively and vibrant celebration of Songkran in Bangkok.
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya: One of the best places for those who want a more traditional Songkran experience. You will witness people visiting temples and paying respect to the elders to seek their blessings.
Chiang Mai: The northern capital of Chiang Mai hosts the most extensive Songkran festivities for almost a week.
Koh Samui: Chaweng Beach is the most exciting place of Songkran revelries on Koh Samui, where locals and visitors from different countries gather to exchange smiles while joyfully splashing water at each other.