Songkran is a Thai traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3 days. Songkran festival on April 13 is Maha Songkran Day or the day to mark the end of the old year, April 14 is Wan Nao which is the day after and April 15 is Wan Thaloeng Sok which the New Year begins. At this time, people from the rural areas who are working in the city usually return home to celebrate the festival. Thus, when the time come, Bangkok temporarily turns into a deserted city.
The values for community is to provide the opportunity to create unity in the community such as to jointly acquire merits, to meet each other and to enjoy the entertaining events. And for the society value is to create concern upon environment with cooperation such as to clean houses, temples, public places and official buildings. Thais value the religion bye means of merits acquisition, offerings alms to monks, Dhamma Practice, listening to sermon and monks-bathing.
Songkran is a Thai word which means "move" or "change place" as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is also known as the "Water Festival" as people believe that water will wash away bad luck.
Songkran 2009 Khaolak Phang Nga
The Songkran tradition is recognized as a valuable custom for the Thai community, society and religions. The value for family is to provide the opportunity for family members to gather in order to express their respects to the elders by pouring scented water onto the hands of their parents and grandparents and to present them gifts including making merits to dedicate the result to their ancestors. The elders in return wish the youngsters good luck and prosperity.
In the afternoon, after performing a bathing rite for Buddha images and the monks, the celebrants both young and old, joyfully splash water oon each other. The most-talked about celebration takes place in the northern province of Chiang Mai where Songkran is celebrated from April 13 to 15. During this period, people from all parts of the country flock there to enjoy the water festival, to watch the Miss Songkran Contest and the beautiful parades.
In recent years, the tradition of sprinkling water has been interpreted by youngsters as a great excuse for a water fight, and it is not uncommon to have buckets and containers of (ice cold)water thrown at you by teams of merry makers in the backs of trucks as you make your way down the street - particularly in major tourist areas like Patong Phuket and Khaosarn Rd Bangkok. This is the place of complete water madness and a must see and do experience !
Small children delight in equipping themselves with water guns and spraying anyone who comes in their path - no one is exempt! Also the white powder is smeared all over your face and you won't keep it clean or dry for at least 3 days.
Remember this date when you are in Thailand and leave your cameras and anything likely to suffer water damage behind in your hotel room, because you will get wet, soaking wet ! Songkran is now also a tourist export product. Some overseas travel agencies make special Songkran holidays to Thailand.