Songkran is one of Thailand’s biggest (if not the biggest) festivals. It is a very important holiday amongst locals, but millions of tourists fly to the Land of Smiles just to experience it, as well. If you haven’t heard of Songkran yet or need a little convincing to take part this year, keep reading!
First of All… What is Songkran?
Songkran is a water festival that marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. It is celebrated on April 13 and extends until April 15, so that Thais can spend more time with their families.
How is Songkran Celebrated?
As April 13 approaches, it is customary for locals to thoroughly clean their houses, go to temples and give offerings, hold a grand parade on the streets, and eat a festive meal with their families. What might pique your interest, though, is that water is a big part of Songkran. That’s where the fun begins.
Water signifies purity and prosperity. Thus, Thai families gently pour water over each other’s palms, especially those of the elders and parents. However, it’s not as solemn as it sounds.
People also start splashing water at each other with buckets, water guns, and more— like a water fight! It doesn’t matter if they are family or not. It’s a very communal event. Don’t be surprised if you get splashed at by strangers while you’re just casually strolling around.
Pool parties and street parties are prevalent, too. Roads will be closed in certain areas just for people to dance, drink, and drench each other with water. It is a very joyous holiday that will put a smile on your face and only happens once a year throughout the country.
4 Reasons to Celebrate Songkran in Thailand
Songkran is a fun experience.
As a tourist, think of Songkran as a 3-day water festival. It’s a local event that you probably won’t experience anywhere else. Yes. You can go to bars or pool parties, but the street party is where it’s at.
Imagine your favorite street party and add water guns. You can already tell that it will be fun, especially if you’re with good friends.
You can find these street parties in various parts of Thailand. In Bangkok, it is usually held in Khao San or Silom. A lot of people go there, so be prepared for the crowd.
If you want a less-busy-yet-equally-fun street party, you can go to the following provinces/islands:
- Chiang Mai
- Koh Samui
- Koh Pangan
Each place has its own vibe, and you’ll have fun regardless of where you go.
You get to meet lots of new people.
Songkran is best celebrated with your loved ones, but it’s definitely an easy way to meet new people, as well. You can literally splash water on a total stranger, and that can be your cue to start a conversation with them!
See somebody you fancy? A little water will do the trick. You can meet all kinds of people as Songkran is the busiest and longest holiday in Thailand. Who knows? Your love story might begin with a splash! Just remember to buy a waterproof case. You don’t want your phone to malfunction when someone asks for your IG or number.
You can learn more about Thai culture.
As fun as this all sounds, you will get to realize that it’s a warm gesture amongst Thai people to splash water.
As mentioned, it signifies the cleansing of the soul and body for the New Year and abundance in fortune. Locals will happily share this tradition with you. You will be greeted with a “Happy New Year” even by vendors on the street and personnel at various establishments.
You can do the same and interact with them. The beauty of traveling lies in the little things. You might learn a thing or two from people that you least expect. It will also give you a sense of gratitude, even if you don’t practice Buddhism.
It’s a great excuse to go to Thailand.
Last but definitely not least, you should attend this year’s Songkran because it’s a great excuse to explore the country itself.
You don’t go just for the water festival. You go for the food, shopping, massages, and lots of exploring while you are in Thailand. After Songkran, you can extend and experience the best of the best.
Whether it’s Michelin-starred street food, a trip to the elephant sanctuary, a nice day out visiting the temples, or even an exhausting Muay Thai class; you’re bound to enjoy your time even more.
Make sure to check out more of our posts for guides and recommendations on what you can do in Thailand. Time to book a flight!
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