Songkran Festival

Last weekend, the tranquil and slow-paced city of Chiang Mai turned into the largest water party in the country during this year’s Songkran Festival! The festival celebrates the Thai New Year and is one of the main attractions for anyone visiting Thailand, especially during the hot season. With temperatures consistently in the 100’s and still months away from rainy season, it is the perfect time for Thai families, kids and travelers from all over the world to splash each other and play in the water! Chiang Mai is known to have the best party around and thousands of tourists come to participate in the biggest water gun fight in the world.

The water is used as a way to “refresh and renew” one’s self for the new year. Traditionally people pour water on the head or down the back and wish each other a happy new year and good luck. People pour water on the head of Buddha statues and there is even a parade for Wat’s to bring their statues out for people to bless and clean them.

Songkran is held every year on April 13th- 15th, but can last for almost six days with water play and family parties all around the city. For Thai families, each day has a meaning: the first day signifies the end of the past year, the second day is to prepare for the new year by cooking lots of food and cleaning the house, and the third day is the official start of the new year and when people make merit at the temples and honor their ancestors.  Many Thais travel home to be with their families for this holiday.  For travelers like me, the festival is a time to spend with new friends and a fun way to beat the heat!

I was very excited to celebrate my first Songkran in Thailand, and thanks to my handy waterproof camera I was able to snap some pictures of all the fun!

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Kids begin playing with water guns and buckets of water the day before the official start of the festival.

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A Thai family outside of their shop splashing people as they drive by. Although the city attracts thousands of tourists every year, Songkran is still traditionally a family holiday.

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Cars backed up and people playing in the streets of Huay Kaew Rd., north-west of the old city. Multiple concert stages were set up and food stalls lined the streets.

On-site intern Jamie enjoying Songkran!

On-site intern Jamie likes Songkran!

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Adults and children, young and old enjoying the festival!

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People gathering water from the moat surrounding the old city.

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Thai women washing a Buddha statue at Wat Phra Singh. During the three days people visit the temples to make merit for the new year by giving donations of money and supplies for the monks, lighting candles and washing Buddha statues for good luck.

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Colorful flags hang from street poles, outside of shops and at the temples to commemorate the Thai New Year.

For anyone thinking of traveling to Thailand, Songkran is an absolute must! Everyone should experience this festival at least once in their life.  I can’t wait for next year!

Katherine Devine

katherine@atmaseva.org

www.atmaseva.org

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4 thoughts on “Songkran Festival

  1. Pingback: Lawa Village – Teamwork in Pa Pae | ATMA SEVA

  2. Pingback: Lawa Village- Teamwork in Pa Pae

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