Sawadee Pee Mai! – That’s Thai for Happy New Year! In Thailand, the beginning of the New Year is celebrated in April, the hottest month of the year. The New Years celebration is called “Songkran festival”. The word Songkran means “to pass” or “to move into”. It is derived from the Sanskrit language and in the context of Thai New Year it refers to the passing and moving of the sun, moon, and other planets. The celebration typically lasts for three days, and consists most famously of people partying in the streets and throwing water at each other. Sounds like fun! This year, Songkran was celebrated From April 13 through 15.
The festival taking place in the spring is significant as it represents the renewal of the earth after winter, as well as the beginning of the new year. To go along with this theme, people in Thailand clean their homes from top to bottom for the beginning of Sonkran.
Water is representative of cleansing and purifying the self for the new year. Water is the trademark of the Sonkran celebrations, as it is known as “The Water Festival”. Basically, people walk around with water guns and buckets of water, splashing and soaking everyone around.
While the water symbolizes a cleansing & rejuvenation for the new year, it is certainly nice to cool off!
Buddhists visit temples and water is poured onto images and statues of Buddha, and over the hands of monks to show respect.
Family and Community
Many Thai people travel to spend time with family during Songkran. The festivities of Songkran bring together all the different members of the family and society, and unite their relationships with each other, as well as with nature.
Even the Elephants get in on the fun!
Events and Traditions
The first day of the festival is called “Songkran Day”. All over the country there are parades and processions featuring images of Buddha. The water throwing also begins on this day.
The Songkran Queen
The second day of Songkran is called “Wan Nao”. This is the celebration of the old Thai New Years Eve. It takes place on the day when the sun travels between Pisces and Aires. Many Buddhists go to their homes this day to build Sand Chedis, which is a sand castle that looks like a Buddhist Temple.
The third day of Songkran is New Years Day. Offerings are left at temples this day, amongst other festivities.
Many tourists plan their trips to Thailand around Songkran, as visitors are welcome to join in the festivities. In fact, if you are walking around during this time, it will be difficult to avoid getting soaked.
View more photos on our Tumblr!
In some cities, this centuries-old tradition includes a good smearing on passersby of colored talc as a symbol of good luck.