Songkran Festival 2017: Thailand

Songkran festival marks the New Year for most Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. In Thailand, the pouring of water symbolizes cleansing, good health, and prosperity for the coming year. This is done by gently pouring perfumed-water onto the body or head, in the case of an elder to someone younger. Younger individuals pour water onto the body of someone older, not on the face or head as this is considered a disrespect.

Songkran is officially celebrated on the 13th to the 15th of April. This is the time when families reunite to pay respect to elders and visit temples for prayer and offering. Most establishments like schools, government offices, banks, and family-run businesses are closed during this time.

Modern day Songkran, on the other hand, has a fun-filled twist in it. As Songkran gains popularity among tourists, it has become one of the grandest and most visited festival in Thailand. In major cities, it is celebrated with water guns, prickly-heat powder and ice cold water. The friendly splashing of water is done whole day long amidst the scorching heat as April is the hottest month of the year in this part of the world. There is a lot of dancing, booze, and merry-making. Some places host foam party with boombastic music, dancing, and tons of alcoholic drinks. In tourist favorite places like Trang, Phuket, Koh Lanta and Ao Nang Krabi means scantily-clad tourist parttaking in water splashing along the streets without knowing that Songkran is a meaningful festival that has its roots way back in time.

How was your Songkran?

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11 thoughts on “Songkran Festival 2017: Thailand

  1. How will we know if someone is older? I think Songkran is an interesting festival. In our country, we also have a feast where people throw water at each other. It’s called San Juan Feast.

    1. Yeah right San Juan. But I don’t remember it being celebrated by everyone. It seems to me like it’s only done by certain places. Yet Songkran is a national festival. Anyway, among family members, the younger ones pay respect to the elders in the family. On the street, if one couldn’t tell the age of the person it is common for Thai to pour water on the body.

  2. I have heard a lot about the Songkran festival but haven’t been lucky enough to witness it myself. What are some of the traditional aspects of this festival? I would love to know more 🙂

    1. I have explained in the post a bit of its cultural significance but I think I’ll have a separate post delineating the cultural aspect of Songkran. Thanks.

  3. Happy songkran to you and family. This part of April is celebrated in India too as the commencement of the harvest in the north, with 14 April being Baisakhi.

    1. Wow really. It’s great to know that. It’s amazing how culture can be so different and yet also similar in so many ways.

  4. Wow, I’ve always been planning to experience Songkran sine then. My friend whom I have just read his article about Songkran is truly fun. He flew to Thailand from the Philippines just to experience Songkran. I’m sure that you really had a great time during this time. Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. I was so busy with work this year that I forgot about Songkran. Last year I spend the last day of Songkran in Thailand and it was rather quiet because of the drought and curfew on water spraying~
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