Songkran Water Festival






The Songkran festival marks the start of the Thai New Year.  A public holiday, it is celebrated with time off work, visits with family, and plenty of water fights.  Originally a traditional Buddhist festival, it takes place between April 13 and 15.  The word Songkran comes from the Sanskrit word meaning astrological passage, referring to the sun’s changing position in the zodiac. 


The Thai people believe that water is spiritually purifying.  The festival originated with locals collecting water that had been poured over Buddha statues for cleansing.  It was then poured over village elders and family members to bless them and wash away bad luck and sins from the past year.  While many families visit their temples and give alms to Buddhist monks at this time, the festival has evolved into a three-day water fight, complete with music, dancing, drinking and soaking everyone with water from water guns, balloons, hose pipes and buckets.


The largest street party in Bangkok takes place along the 4 Km Silom Road, a street lined with vendors selling water guns, toys, food and drinks, with thousands of people engaging in water fights. The biggest celebrations in the country take place in the northern city of Chiang Mai, with some festivities lasting six days.  It is customary in the north for people to collect sand, which is representative of the dirt carried on their feet, and to take it to their local monastery, where it is sculpted into piles and decorated with colorful flags.





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