The Thai festival of Songkran takes place every year on April 13th and marks the start of the traditional New Year in Thailand. Celebrating the Thai New year at any major city or town in Thailand is a real cultural eye opener and great fun.
The celebrations of Songkran commence on the morning of the 13th April with families making their ways to local temples where merit-making offerings are given and statues and images of the Buddha are washed. Water is also sprinkled on the hands of elders in the community as a mark of respect and ensuring good fortune for the year to come.
Although Songkran is a festival steeped in national and religious tradition in Thailand, it’s most memorable aspect for Thais and foreign visitors alike are the great water fights that occur on streets all over Thailand during the New Year festival. Huge crowds gather in the streets armed with buckets, hose pipes and even spray guns full of water and begin to splash each other in one great water fight. Songkran is the only time of year in Thailand when it’s perfectly acceptable to splash a total stranger with water all in good spirit. Thousands of people get soaked in the streets during the water festival in Thailand in an event that is supposed to mark the beginning of the harvest season in Thailand. The splashing of water is believed to bring good fortune for the upcoming year. In addition to water throwing, coloured talc powder is also thrown creating an explosion of colour that adds nicely to the carnival atmosphere.
Although Songkran can be celebrated almost anywhere in Thailand Khao San road in Bangkok is particularly popular with foreign travelers and crowds of several thousand gather every year to participate in the water fights. Chiang Mai is also another great place to see the festival of Songkran as the celebrations last for up to 10 days.