Thailand’s always a fun and exciting place to visit at any time of the year due to it rich history and culture. However, things become even more interesting if you visit the nation during Songkran, which is a traditional Buddhist festival to celebrate the New Year. This year’s annual events will be taking place all over the country between April 7th and 19th.
You’ll see local residents celebrating all day and night long when Songkran arrives and it’s a great way to soak in the Thai culture. Most of the celebrating takes place in public on the streets of the villages, towns, and cities. A lot of the celebrating has to do with water as it’s such an important ingredient to the agricultural cultures of the land. Scented water used to be generally for the blessings in the past as well as for showing respect to elders, but now it’s used almost everywhere during celebrations.
The festival kicks off with a traditional housecleaning known as Wan Sungkharn Long. This is where people sweep out the old and welcome the new as they prepare themselves for the New Year. The following day is known as Wan Nao. This is where people get the food ready for the religious ceremonies that will take over the next day’s activities.
You’ll also see many residents heading down to riverbanks to make chedis, which are small sand pagodas that are decorated with streamers and flowers. It’s believed that every grain of sand will wash away a different sin.
The third day of the Songkran is known as Wan Payawan, which is recognized and celebrated as being the New Year’s first day. The temples are filled with morning ceremonies which offer clothing and food and people at home use scented water to clean images of Buddha. The water-throwing also gets underway on this day.
If you travel around Thailand, you’ll notice the traditions and customs vary a little bit between regions as they celebrate different myths and legends on how the festival originated. However, wherever you go, you’ll see many interesting celebrations and events in the streets.