Songkarn is a festival that’s celebrated in Thailand with a great deal of pomp. Derived from the Sanskrit word samkranti (astrological passage), the Songkran festival is Thailand’s traditional New Year’s Day, which is celebrated from April 13 to April 15 each year.
Many traditions are part of this special Thai festival. Ancient folklore is full of beautiful stories of how the festival came to be. Myth and legend that enrich Thai culture greatly, also contribute a great deal to the festivities in Songkran.
Here is a glimpse of what the Songkran customs are:
Water Pouring Tradition
Easily one the most fun and entertaining custom of the Songkran festival, the traditional water pouring symbolises washing away all the bad things from one’s life. The water that people spray on each other in mirth usually consists of herbs that lend the water great fragrance.
According to his custom, younger members of the family approach the elders with a vessel filled with scented water. Dried flowers, cumin, and other traditional herbs are said to make the water holy. This is considered a heartfelt offering to the elders.
Customs of Each Day of Songkran
On the first day, people clean their houses and prepare for the New Year. The Chiangmai Parade takes place, with floats carrying idols and images of the Buddha going around the streets of almost every city in Thailand.
On the second day, people prepare elaborate Thai delicacies and dig into a festive lunch with friends and family. They also go down to the river banks and make sand chedis, decked with flowers and streamers in temple courtyards.
On the final day, food is offered to monks, who are held in very high regard in Thai society. This day also marks the true beginning of the Thai New year, and people observe the Water Splashing ceremony.
It is a lot of fun to witness the Songkran festival. With so much fun, colour and merry-making in sight, it is truly one of Thailand’s most exciting events.
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