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Songkran - April

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SONGKRAN a tradition that suits everyone!

One of the high spots of the Traditional Thai calendar is the annual New Year celebration 















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Happy New year


around April 13, when the sun moves into Aries. 'Songkran' originates from the Sanskrit meaning 'beginning of the solar year'. 

The holiday-loving Thais can celebrate New Year three times each year: the Western New Year on January 1, the Chinese New Year in February, and the Thai New Year in April.   (other Festivals and Events).











Background

The festival of Songkran is an old tradition in Thailand. It marks the New Year according to the Thai lunar calendar. The tradition is an example of beautiful Thai culture revealing the joy, generosity, warmth, and respect of the Thai people. During Sonkran, Thai people use water and scents to convey love and amity to each other. 

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is determined to promote this precious tradition in order to draw the attention of tourists from around the world and invite them to participate in the delights of Songkran. Consequently, TAT has arranged this coming April 'Songkran Splendors' to celebrate the festival throughout the four regions of the country. 


Traditionally, there was only one “New Year” in Thailand Songkran, the start of the Buddhist year, is still celebrated between the 13th-15th April, at the height of the hot season. Translated literally as “the passing of” Songkran marks the beginning of the solar calendar, when the sun passes from the sign of Taurus into Aries. In the rural community and until recently Thailand was almost entirely an agricultural society this has been a perfect time to take a break from the business of earning a living.


The rice harvest is in, and replanting has to await the coming of the rains. For centuries, this has presented an opportunity for young men and women to meet socially turning the lull in the seasonal cycle of labour to matters of courtship





Tourism, these days Songkran has turned into a water-throwing funfest, in which anyone and everyone is liable to get  thoroughly drenched-a blessed relief in this, the hottest season of the year.   The water-throwing custom may have come from the mythical  belief that sea serpents  or 'naga' bring on the rains by spouting water from the sea.   Water throwing may therefore have been a rain-making custom to guarantee ample water for next year's crops.




 

When & where

The actual festival dates in Thailand vary a little.. 

Example: 
North Chiang Mai 10th,  
Phuket 13th, 
Bangkok 15th, Pattaya 19th 
the fun starts about 3 days before the actual festival date in each location
   
Check out the Songkran kit below











Tradition

Traditionally

Thais visit temples at this time of year to offer food to the monks and to participate in bathing ceremonies for Buddha images. At home, young people pour scented water into the hands of their parents and elders as a mark of respect and to receive the blessing of the older folk.   Another custom is the releasing of small fish into rivers and canals. This merit-making act is thought to come from the old practice of collecting small fish from dried out pools, to keep and later release back into the wild.

















Bangkok is at its quietest at Songkran, as many of the revelers have gone back to their upcountry homes for the long holidays. The roads are remarkably traffic-free. 


Most of the action in the city is concentrated at places like Khao San Road, a traditional hangout for young backpackers, which turns into a free-fire water-sloshing zone for the duration of the holidays.  More traditional celebrations are held near the Grand Palace, with bathing of the sacred Phra Buddha Siting image. 
 
Whatever part of Thailand you happen to be in, the only way to stay dry at this time of year is to stay in your room alone. So get out, get soaked and join in the fun in Thailand's very traditional, very unique and very 'sanuk' Songkran water festival.
   
Please be careful .. (many road accidents occur with a little too much  excitement, water pistols, too much alcohol) ..







 Kon Thai


   Wai

Kon Farang
makeface
 shake hands




Videos:  Best youtube link of Songkran Festival  
 




Photos:  these are random - use the link below for more




















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