Songkran Festival: April 13-15
Songkran or Water Festival is celebrated as a public holiday in Thailand.
The Songkran or Water Festival is Thailand’s most celebrated yearly holiday. It is the country’s own way of celebrating the New Year and usually lasts from the 13th up to the 15th of April. It is a wet celebration because part of the tradition is the intense but fun water-throwing by the people.
History of Songkran Festival in Thailand
Songkran is a Sanskrit term which means the entrance of the sun into any of the zodiac signs more specifically of the Aries Zodiac. This festival is being held during the hottest season in Thailand which made the throwing of water as one of the most essential activities during this festival. Traditionally, the full name of the festivity is Maha Songkran to distinguish it from the other Songkrans. But since it is the only Songkran that is being celebrated by the Thai, the festival came popular as simply Songkran.
The essence of the celebration is for the people to develop their religious customs and traditions by making various offerings and alms to their religious figures. It is also a time for the people to unite and bond with each other by celebrating all together in the streets and meeting up acquaintances.
Songkran Festival in Thailand Traditions, Customs and Activities
During the entire day of the celebration, people roam around the streets as they bring water with them so they can splash it with other people. Because the festivity takes place under the heat of the sun, throwing of water is always fun and refreshing to the Thais.
On the solemn part of the celebration, people usually spend time to visit and pay respects to their family members, relatives and friends. They also cleanse their Buddha images at home and in the monasteries by pouring them with water containing various fragrances and flower petals after which they offer prayers and rituals. This tradition is believed to be bringing good luck and prosperity. Meanwhile, water symbolizes the cleansing of the spirit and washing away the bad vibes.
The Songkran Festival is one of the few days of the year in Thailand where the people gather together for performances and programs organized by the local government to display the talents of the people and entertain the many.