Songkran is an annual festival in Thailand that takes place between the 13th to the 15th of April (but please note dates do vary a little around the country) to commemorate the traditionally Thai New Year. The name derives from an old word in Sanskrit that has been translated to ‘passing’, ‘approaching’ and ‘passage’ as in a passage into the new year. It marks the end of the dry season (March and April being the two hottest months of the year) and is celebrated consequently as a water festival.
How is it Celebrated?
These days the act of throwing water is the main event of the festival with everyone in the near vicinity getting soaked via every conceivable means. Buckets of water are thrown, water-guns are used and even elephants parading through the city streets blow water from their trunks onto passersby. Those who are visiting the country on holiday can do nothing but embrace this Thai tradition as tourists are the main targets of the water throwing. Other than the Songkran water festival, there are less lively traditions of Songkran celebrated by Thai Buddhists who carry bags of sand to their temples as a metaphor for the dust carried away by their feet over the course of the year. They use this sand to mold sand Chedis which are sculptures in the shape of Buddhist temples. Many Thai people also like to visit their local temple and help wash images of Buddha to bring prosperity for the year to come. Like most New Year traditions across the world, the traditional Thai New Year is very family oriented with people making long journeys to spend time with loved ones.
Can Everyone Get Involved?
Anyone who spends time in the ‘splash zone’ will have little to no choice of getting involved. It is all good natured and locals do encourage tourists and visitors to take part in the traditions. Utilise all means of water throwing paraphernalia and join in soaking friends and strangers alike but be sure to leave all non-waterproof electronics behind as they will definitely not survive water throwing!
Where Does Songkran Take Place?
The celebrations take place all over Thailand with different events and parades occurring in every city and town. Thailand’s capital holds the ‘Bangkok Songkran Splendours Festival’ offering spectacular exhibitions and performances on the busy city streets. Similarly, Chiang Mai and Phuket hold parades and processions exhibiting cultural traditions as well as a selection of delicious traditional Thai food. It is a wonderful spectacle that locals and tourists alike can enjoy.
Some Events for the Diary:
Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
Celebrate Songkran here on Saturday 7 April from 16.00 to 20.00 on the resort has expansive lawns where festivities emphasising traditional Thai culture combined with a splash of style will take place.
Guests can join local revellers for a fun-filled afternoon, learning traditional Thai folk games, enjoying local snacks in preventive market style and there will be live music in the early evening. Throughout the celebration, everyone is encouraged to dress up in traditional Lanna, Northern Thai attire to add a unique touch to the experience and acknowledge the region’s history. The best-dressed family of the day will win a prize!
Entrance ticket is priced at THB 100 per adult, THB 50 per child (6-12 year of age) and complimentary for children under 6 years of age.
Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok
Guests staying at the hotel between 10 Apr 2018 through 18 Apr 2018 can experience true culture with authentic food and traditional water blessings, including a Songkran pool party (Friday 13 April 2018 only) during the annual Songkran Festival.
Their special offer is from THB 7,000 per night and includes:
Complimentary daily buffet breakfast at Next 2 Café, for 2 adults and 2 children up to 12 years old
Children under the age of 6 stay and dine for free
Complimentary extra rollaway bed for 1 child
Songkran Pool Party, for 2 adults, with traditional Songkran “Rod Naam Pa Paeng” ceremony, entertainment, free-flow house wines, beer and cocktails
50% off for children aged 7 to 12 years
Songkran amenity (2 water guns) for kids
Complimentary in-room wired Internet and Wi-Fi access
The Sarojin is helping guests experience Thailand’s ancient water festival of Songkran, celebrating the Thai New Year, (13-15 April), with a range of special activities and a pool-side gourmet BBQ.
To mark the holiday, the luxury resort in secluded Khao Lak will invite guests to join in with cultural traditions, religious blessings and festivities, making The Sarojin the perfect place to see in the Thai New Year.