One of the most important days in Thailand is Songkran. It’s not only a Thai way of celebrating New Year but also a time when we bind up and show some gratitude to our families. Songkran has been declared by the government as a long holiday from 13 to 15 April of each year. As a tradition, most people who work far away from home usually return to their hometown and pay respect to their families including making merits to their ancestors. In addition, Songkran festival demonstrates the smiles of Thailand that brings joy combined with ancient traditions harmoniously and reflects the true Thai culture with friendly water fights.
The most popular activities for Thai people during Songkran festival starts by making merits in the morning, releasing fish and birds in order to get good fortune. After that, they may bring some sand to the temple which would bring them prosperity and a wealthy life and most importantly pour water on the hands of the elders politely and ask for blessings. Having fun is not the only one subject for this festival but conserving Thai culture and inheriting a beauty of Songkran tradition and cultivating good moral traits to the next generation.
Where is the best place to go in Thailand for Songkran ?
There is no doubt that Khaosan Road is one of the famous places for celebrating Songkran Festival and it’s always crowded with many foreigners and Thai teenagers. The fun of splashing water starts early in the morning until late evening with many activities for visitors such as concerts and a various out-door market.
The newest check-in Landmark of Bangkok for tourist with retro concept Asiatique is the shopping scenic center along Chao Phraya river. There are a variety of gastronomical delights view, food and drinks with widely opened areas which are suited for outdoor events, especially Songkran festival. Splashing water is not the main idea, Songkran is mostly focusing on family celebrations, shopping, dining and savouring the river atmosphere.
Do not miss the famous main road for water fights in Thailand. Many foreigners and Thais will join this battle together, in both ways in and out for splashing water from midday until late at night. Lined with shops from MRT Silom Station until Naralom intersection (Narathiwat Road intersect with Silom Road) is bustling with delicious food where you can fill your stomach and have a great time.
Bangkok Songkran Festival at Central World has been held successfully for several years. When the outer courtyard was transformed into the paradise of water with joy of lively music especially foam party zone instead of water suitable for everyone to have a good time. Easy to reach by Skytrain (BTS) linking to various points.
Escape from the city to visit this island and appreciate Mon culture. Because the Mon community settled here a long time ago. The Festival on the island offers culture and ways of life of Mon people through old tradition amusements. It takes less than 10 minutes from the ferry across the river to the island. (Do not forget the spectacular view from the river side). Taste the rice and the traditional desserts, enjoy shopping pottery, souvenirs, visiting the temple of the island and don’t forget to pour a bit of water onto the Buddha Image before going back.
Another name for Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai is “Paweni Pee Mung Mai” always considered as one of the amazing highlights of the year because people truly pay attention to this festival. The whole city is surrounded by an atmosphere of happiness. The most popular point is Tha Pae Gate on Nimmanheamin Road but most of the crowd is around the moat. The locals and tourist are packed along the way including Folk activities, presentations of art and culture in Lanna style.
Songkran in Issan (North-Eastern Thailand) is one of the spectacular places just like the others. Khon Kaen’s province has become the ultimate Songkran Festival. By decorating the main roads where you can splash water just like on Khao San Road (hence, the name of the Khao Niew Road) supports of locals and Issan people and the tourists who want to experience water battle and listening to Issan music at the same time. In the festival, there will be the cultural zone to provoke the idea of preserving the old tradition with spectacular lights and sounds. If you are fond of music, you will love this. Khao Niew Road usually comes up with excellent concepts such as No Alcohol campaigns.
- Songkran Festival in Thailand is ranked number 1 in 5 of the most colorful festivals in Asia.
- Originally Thai people did consider Songkran as a New Year’s Day of Thailand. According to international standards it has changed to the 1st of January to ensure consistency with other countries.
- Splashing water onto the Buddha image to show respect with flowers and candles before putting some perfume on the Buddha. Avoid pouring water directly on the head of Buddha. Politely pour water on the other parts of Buddha.
- The purpose of this is tradition is not only to have fun but also wishing and blessings each other with water. Clean water should be used along with Thai aroma for the good smell. Perfumed powder can be applied on the face. Do not use dirty water or ice. Avoid using a water gun or hose pumping with high pressure water. As a Thai tradition, we should dress modestly and before putting powder on someone’s face it is better to ask for their permission. It is recommended to put around your neck a long line of jasmine garland for the great prosperity.
- Pour water on the elders. (age 60 and above) The elders should not be blessed because we are younger. Just being blessed by them is enough. Start with inviting adults to sit down, put a small bunch of jasmine garland placed on their hands then we slowly kneel down in front of them and pay respect before gently pour water on their palms with a humble attitude. After the great blessing is over, we should pay respect again. When watering younger people or of the same age, be polite and ask for their permission before watering their shoulders and blessing them.
- Traditional dishes for Songkran reduce the temperature of the body like Kao-Chae (Cooked Rice Soaked in Iced Water).