Songkran: Thailand’s New Year Festival
If you’ve ever doubted how serious Thailand handles their water fights, you need to stop by during Songkran.
For locals, Songkran is known as Thai New Year. It also marks the end of the country’s dry season and welcomes the start of the rainy season. For everyone else, it’s a national holiday and this year it runs from April 13-15. It’s the country’s longest holiday according to the festival’s official website with festivities lasting as long as a week in cities like Chang Mai.
The holiday is steeped in Buddhist traditions and is supposed to give Thais a moment to reflect spirituality and pay respect to their elders. As a result, you’ll see lots of people making their ways to local temples to pray and cleaning Buddhist figurines and statues in order to bring good luck for the coming year.
But that’s only part of the festival. The main attraction tourists will likely witness is the massive water fights. During this part, everyone is a fair game for a soaking either by hose, water gun or by buckets filled with ice-cold water. The water fights are meant to symbolize the cleansing and rejuvenation of the body.
Tourists are especially targeted by locals so it’s best to bring clothes you don’t mind getting wet in. Cameras and electronics will also need to be stashed safety as no one is really safe from a drive-by-soaking. Traveller’s looking for a good city to take part in Songkran can’t go wrong with a trip to Chang Mai.
It’s regarded as the premier spot, trumping cities like Bangkok and Phuket for fun. That’s partially do to the moat located in the Old City, an area dotted with ancient Buddhist temples according to Fest3000.
Sources: Flashpacker HQ, Pattaya Mail, Huffington Post