What is Songkran festival-Water festival in Thailand?

Thailand New year, Songkran Festival, also known as the Water Festival, is an exciting and vibrant event celebrated throughout Thailand. A truly unique event in the world, Songkran festivals mark the beginning of a new solar year on the traditional Thai calendar. This is a time for joyous celebration with friends and family, where people from all walks of life come together to enjoy the fun! Celebrated with much gusto, Songkran-Water festival marks a time of joy and celebration marked by exuberant colors, energetic music, delightful food and drinks, and most importantly - lots of water!

Songkran festival is an event you don't want to miss! Ready to discover all this festival has to offer? Let's dive into everything you need to know about Songkran Festival - the water festival in Thailand.

What is Songkran Festival, Thailand New Year?

Songkran-Water festival in Thailand

Songkran-Water festival in Thailand

Songkran festival is the traditional Thailand New Year, celebrated from 13 to 15 April. It marks the start of the Sun’s journey from Pisces to Aries and represents a time for renewal and coming together with family and friends.

During this three-day festival, revelers take part in several activities like playing water games and releasing birds and fish into the wild. Other popular traditions include offering a traditional Thai meal to monks and Buddha, exchanging gifts, playing music, going on pilgrimage trips, and holding parades with floats. Songkran-Water festival is annually celebrated as an important part of Thailand’s culture and heritage. Participants will often dress up in colorful traditional clothing to  mark the occasion. The water that is a part of most Songkran activities symbolizes cleansing, purification and renewal. This is one of the most important festivals in Thailand!

When is Thailand New Year, Songkran Festival?

Songkran Festival is celebrated annually in Thailand over a three-day period on 13th, 14th and 15th April. It marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year and is an occasion for people to come together and celebrate with family and friends. The festival usually starts off with merit-making activities such as visiting temples, offering food to monks and other religious activities.

Where to celebrate Songkran-Water Festival?

The Songkran festival is an important and vibrant celebration of Thai culture and traditions, marks the new year on the traditional lunar Thai calendar.

If you want to join in on all the fun, it’s best to head over to one of Thailand’s major cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket. These cities all have lively celebrations with plenty of singing, dancing, water fights and other fun activities.

Songkran festival in Bangkok

Songkran festival in Bangkok

In Bangkok, you can visit the Sanam Luang area which is transformed into a cultural extravaganza during Thailand New Year. There’s plenty of food stalls, live music, traditional dances and even a parade.

Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai

Songkran festival in Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai, the Songkran festival is celebrated with water fights, parades and cultural performances. Many of the city’s temples close off their grounds for people to gather for musical concerts, dance shows and more.

Songkran Festival in Phuket

Songkran festival in Phuket

Phuket is known for its lively street parties and vibrant atmosphere during Songkran fesival. You can join in on the fun or simply admire the festivities from afar. Head to the old town for some of the best street-food vendors and live music.

No matter where you choose to celebrate, Songkran-Water festuval is a great way to immerse yourself in Thai culture and traditions.

How is Songkran festival celebrated in Thailand?

Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand with great joy and enthusiasm. On these day, people go to their local temples or the National Stadium for special ceremonies and activities. There are also water fights in streets, markets and other public places. People throw buckets of water on each other to celebrate the Thailand New Year and wish each other good luck in the coming year.

In addition to water fights, Songkran festival celebrations also involve special traditional rituals such as pouring scented water over Buddha statues for good luck, indulging in a cleansing bath with perfumed petals, and offering food to monks. People also play traditional games such as tug-of-war and 'muay thai' (Thai boxing). Moreover, there are a number of parades and shows held throughout the country to celebrate Songkran-Water festuval, which feature dancers dressed in colorful costumes performing various dances.

All in all, Songkran festival is a huge part of Thai culture and is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. It is a time for families to come together, share in good food, exchange gifts and celebrate the coming of the Thailand New Year. It also provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to enjoy living in harmony for a few days.

What happens on the first day of the Songkran-Water festival?

The first day of the Songkran festival is known as 'Wiang Kum Kam Day' in Thailand. On this day, people go to their local temples or the National Stadium for special ceremonies and activities. The most popular activity on this day is pouring scented water over Buddha statues for good luck.  This is done at shrines, temples and other religious places across the country.

Apart from that, people also exchange gifts with each other and give merit to the monks by offering food. Traditional Thai dances are performed and there are parades held throughout the country. In addition to this, there are also traditional games such as tug-of-war and 'muay thai' (Thai boxing).

On the first day of Songkran festival, people are also encouraged to practice acts of kindness such as helping out the elderly or donating food to those in need. This is a way to show appreciation for everything they have been given and to start the New Year on a positive note.

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What is Wan Nao?

Songkran Festival Wan Nao

Wan Nao - Songkran festival

Wan Nao is the celebration of the old Thai New Year’s Eve and takes place on April 14th. On this day, many Buddhists go to their local temples to construct sand chedis, or sand castles which are meant to resemble a Buddhist temple. After building these structures, people then proceed to pour scented water  over them for good luck. This is believed to bring happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

In addition to building sand chedis, Wan Nao also involves traditional rituals such as offering food to monks and indulging in a cleansing bath with perfumed petals. It is believed that these acts will bring blessings from the gods for health.

When is Thai New Year’s Day?

Thai New Year’s Day is celebrated on April 15th. On this day, people visit their local temples for special ceremonies and activities to usher in the new year. There are water fights in streets, markets and other public places as part of the festivities and people throw buckets of water on each other to celebrate the New Year and wish each other good luck in the coming year.

Is Songkran-Water festival just for locals ?

Is Songkran festival for international tourists

Interational tourists joining Songkran-Water festival

Songkran festival is open to everyone, regardless of nationality. Many people from all around the world come to Thailand during this time to experience the legendary celebration. There are plenty of activities and events that anyone can take part in, including visiting local temples and shrines, exchanging gifts with each other, participating in traditional Thai dances, playing traditional Thai games, and much more. Additionally, there are often live events such as concerts or parades happening in various cities across the country throughout this period to further add to the festivities.

LGBT can join Songkran Festival, Thailand New Year?

Yes, LGBT people are welcome to join in the celebration of Songkran festival. All participants, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, are encouraged to participate in the festivities and enjoy all that Thailand has to offer during this time. There is no discrimination or prejudice towards any group during this period as everyone is simply there to have a good time and celebrate the coming of a new year. Additionally, there are plenty of activities and events that anyone can take part in, including visiting local temples and shrines, exchanging gifts with each other, participating in traditional Thai dances, playing traditional Thai games, and much more. This is an inclusive celebration for all to enjoy .

What to do during the Songkran-Water Festival?

Before the Songkran Festival, it is important to prepare accordingly.

  • Stocking up on supplies such as food and water
  • Wearing appropriate clothing (avoiding white colors)
  • Making sure you have adequate protection from the sun
  • Be mindful of your belongings, not leave them unguarded during the water-fight activities
  • It is also wise to carry a bottle of water with you at all times so that you can stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Lastly, it is important to show respect for the local culture and customs during this period as well as make sure not to engage in any overly-rowdy behavior.

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What not to do during the Songkran festival?

During the Songkran Festival, Thailand New Year, there are certain behaviors that should be avoided

  • It is important not to drink alcohol in public as this can lead to trouble with the police and local authorities
  • Stay away from any fights or arguments during this time
  • Not to drench people who are not taking part in the festivities
  • Be mindful of one's words and actions around locals, as some may take offense or find it disrespectful
  • Avoid any overly-rowdy behavior that could lead to physical harm or injury.

Tips for travelling during Thailand New Year

Travelling during Thailnad New Year, known as Songkran Festival, in April, here are some handy tips:

  • Leave valuables at the hotel, and don't take too much cash. Pack quick-drying clothes and waterproof bags for your valuables. Remember, respectful participation is key - avoid aggressive water throwing and target areas with lower traffic.
  • Flights, hotels, and transportation fill up fast. Secure your bookings months in advance, especially for popular destinations like Chiang Mai.
  • Songkran festival is more than just a water fight. Observe temple ceremonies, offer blessings to elders, and dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • Keep electronics safe and be mindful of slippery streets. Be aware of potential traffic disruptions and intoxicated drivers.
  • Lively Bangkok offers vibrant street parties, while Chiang Mai has a more cultural focus. Other destinations like Phuket and Pattaya cater to various preferences.
  • When participating in water splashing celebrations, please do not splash water on the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and special people such as police officers and camera reporters on duty
  • Don't throw ice, icy or dirty water, or use high-pressure water guns

Remember, even without Songkran festivities, Thailand offers year-round adventures. Adapt these tips to your travel style and have a fantastic time!

Overall, Songkran-Water festival is an incredibly fun and festive festival that everyone should experience at least once. With the right preparations and respect for local customs, you can ensure that your Songkran festival experience is both enjoyable and safe.

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