It’s time for Songkran, time for you to take out those water guns, fill in those water balloons and buckets with icy cold water and start hunting for your targets!
Songkran is one of the most fun annual festivals celebrated in Thailand. The popular 3-day festival, Songkran is all set to begin on 13th April. For those of you willing to know more about it, here is a quick guide.
About the Festival
Also known as ‘Thai New Year’, Songkran is an exciting festival celebrated in several parts of Asia. Annually celebrated in mid-April, the traditional 3-day fest marks the beginning of the solar year and the start of the summer season.
Popular Festive Traditions
Traditions and practices of Songkran have come a long way. As an ancient cultural festival, Songkran is celebrated differently in different parts of Asia including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Popular traditions attached to the festival include visiting the local temples and monasteries, offering prayers, and honouring the elderly members in the family. Pouring scented water mixed with other ingredients on the statues of the Buddha is another ritual of the festival.
Water as a festive symbol
Most festival rituals and ceremonies are centred on water. Traditionally, a small bowl of water was poured on the elder members of the society in order to wash away bad luck. With time the bowl took the form of bucket filled with icy cold water to be splashed on people! The symbolism of water washing away the bad luck remains the same.
The White pasty powdery substance
The oldest Songkran tradition includes applying a white powdery substance. Mostly applied to the elder members of the family on the face, neck and torso, the paste is a sign of protecting the family from the evil. It is often believed that the substance has to stay on the face until it washes off on its own!
Songkran in Thailand
If you happen to be in Thailand during the water festival, get ready to have a time of your life! The central region is packed with beautifully dressed people offering prayers at the temples or offering gifts to the monks. People in the northern region celebrate the festival differently. In order to repel back luck, crackers are burnt and gunshots are fired. The eastern region of Thailand enjoys most with the water.
Songkran in Bangkok
As far as the festivities and celebrations are concerned, the capital city of Bangkok has lots on offer for all. The entire 5 km stretch of Patpong is packed with Thais carrying anything and everything to spray water! Be well prepared before entering the street. Those of you who prefer a traditional Songkran, the Phra Pradaeng District is the perfect place to be. There will be no water fights here, but you can enjoy a wide range of cultural activities including ‘saba game’, Thai-Ramn Flag, boat races, traditional music and dance.
Songkran in Pattaya
Popular streets such as the Beach Road are packed with hundreds and thousands of people splashing water on each other. Live music and dancing is an integral part of the celebrations. If you happen to spot monks walking on the streets, remember to offer them something and take their blessings.
Songkran in Phuket
Water fights in Phuket start early and go till late. With streets filled with people, all splashing water on each other, it can be an enjoyable time for the tourists in the city. One can even spot children spraying water on each other with their water guns!