Songkran Festival – Thailand’s New Year

Posted on: 14th April 2015

The one festival that is celebrated by people all over the world regardless of any perceived notion’s about religion or ethnicity is, New Year. In many countries New Years is celebrated two times, once on 1 January and the second is according to the culture. This is the same case in Thailand, the country celebrates its cultural New Year by the name of Songkran, every year from 13th April till 15th April.

songkran festival
In many places the New Year is welcomed with fireworks, in some it’s done with a dragon dance. However, in Thailand the Songkran festival is celebrated with friendly water fights, carried over three days. Among all the other festivals celebrated throughout Thailand, Songkran is given utmost importance, because it’s a national holiday with the longest duration.

Derived from a Sanskrit word which translate “move into”, signifies that Songkran is the festival when Thai people step into a new year leaving the past behind. In today’s time the festival is celebrated by throwing water on each other. Water is closely associated with the celebrations as it is believed to get rid of the previous years misfortunes, illness and bad luck. The Thai’s believe that by doing this a fresh new slate is provided for the coming year.

songkran

The Three Days of Celebrations

All the three days of the festival are celebrated in different styles with each day having it’s own cultural significance.

  • On the first day, the previous year is bid adieu with firecrackers, also done to ward off evil spirits. The most important part of the day is when the images of Buddha are cleaned. Images from local monasteries are taken out into the streets, where it is showered with scented water by the locals. It’s from this day onward that you get to see people drenched in water.
  • The second day is dedicated neither to the previous year nor new year. On this day it is considered to by unlucky to argue with someone. A particular tradition is carried out on this day, when locals go to the temples with sand and make stupas, later decorated with pennants. Food to be served to monks in temples, on the next day is prepared during rest of the day.
  • A popular belief in Thai culture is that you get a merit for everything good and a demerit for everything bad. Hence it is on the third day that merit making is carried out by people. Food prepared a day before is fed to monks in local monasteries along with bathing images of Buddha. It’s also the last day to party and enjoy the celebrations.

If you’re in Thailand then it is a must that you take part in the Songkran festival. Enjoy this magnificent three day event and welcome the new year in Thai style.

 

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