If you ask a Thai for the most anticipated holiday during the year, the answer will be most likely Songkran. Also known as the Thai New Year, Songkran has its roots in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city and cultural centre.
Songkran is held every year from 13th-15th April throughout entire Thailand. As the Christmas days or Hajj after Ramadan, it’s traditionally the time when Thais who are based outside their hometowns return back home to celebrate this special occasion with the rest of the family.
The Thai New Year has grown to a massive event which is nowadays not only celebrated by Thais but also attracts millions of foreign visitors who want to participate in the water battles. Forget about hiding during these days – every person becomes a target as soon as you step outside your hotel / house; locals and tourists are ready to unload their water pistols and to dump buckets full of water!
The story behind the water battles has a spiritual meaning: Thais sprinkle the water on one another and Buddha images to give positive blessings. The days around Songkran are also considered the days of ‘spring cleaning’ and to get rid of all possessions which brought bad luck the past year.
Brahmins from India introduced the tradition who believed that the orbit of the sun passes into each of the zodiacs. Songkran has been identified in moving into Aries, the day which is known in Thailand as ‘Wan Payawan’ and symbolizes the beginning of a new solar year on 15th April. Songkran comes from Sanskrit and means ‘moving on’.
Have you been to Thailand during Songkran? Let us know!