It’s only a few days before Songkran, one of Thailand’s most popular festivals, and tourists are expected to come in droves, ready to join the friendly locals in celebrating one of the most festive gatherings in this beautiful Southeast Asian nation.
First, let’s take a look at what the festival is all about.
The Significance of Songkran to the Thais
While Thailand does celebrate the Chinese New Year in February, the country also has its own traditional New Year celebration. That, of course, is Songkran.
Much can be gleaned from the etymology of the name. Songkran can be loosely translates as “passage,” denoting a significant change that needs to be commemorated. In this case, the Songkran Festival is timed to coincide with the end of the dry season and the beginning of the more bountiful season for planting rice.
If you’ve heard about how jubilant the celebrations are for Songkran, then you now understand why there is much happiness, fun and laughter all around the country for this festival. Tourists and locals alike are all welcome to take part in the activities, which take three days or even more depending on which part of Thailand you’re heading to.
It’s time to move on now to what matters – the festival!
How Do Thais Celebrate Songkran Festival?
There are many ways that people in Thailand celebrate Songkran. For the more traditional, people grab some water and pour them all over their elders.
This isn’t a prank, but is a move that is deeply seeped in Thai culture. Because Songkran signifies the end of the dry season, pouring water is actually symbolic of wishing the recipient good fortune and abundance in the upcoming year. People also visit Buddhist temples and pay respect to the Buddha.
On the other hand, there are also “modern” ways of celebrating Songkran. It also involves lots and lots of water. In many cities and communities throughout Thailand, people organize “water throwing” festivities. Like its name signifies, people come together to pour water over one another.
This is one of the reasons why the festival is popular among tourists – there are lots of fun and excitement for everyone involved. There are also lots of food, beer, and activities for everyone to partake in.
Festivities can last a week or so, so brace yourself.
Everyone is in the festivals for the fun and laughter, but it can also get rowdy. You’d have to look out for yourself while the festivities are still ongoing. Keep your gadgets in your hotel room or, at the least, store them in waterproof casings so that they don’t get water damage, for instance.
Aside from that, feel free to participate in the many activities that Thai locals have prepared for those that are coming to celebrate Songkran with them. April is definitely one of the best months to come to Thailand, all because of this festival.
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