Songkran Water Festival- Thai New Year
Beer, water guns, and good vibes. What more could you want? That is the how I would explain my experience during Songkran water festival in Thailand. I got to celebrate on the beautiful southern island of Koh Phangan. It is one of my happiest memories in Thailand.
What is Songkran?
Songkran water festival aka Thai New Year, marks the beginning of the new solar year and the start of the summer season. It is the most popular festival of Thailand with locals and tourist joining in on the fun. This year, the Maha Songkran or the ‘New Year’ is set for April 13th, when the day and night are of equal length. This is followed by Nao Day, middle day, on April 14th. The New Year itself is on April 15th.
It is all about getting WET! You will see people riding on scooters with massive water guns, squirting everyone in their path. There are even trucks with massive trashcans of water in the back of them, driving past, getting people when they least expect it! It is a sight and festival you have to see with your own eyes. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, everyone joins in on the fun in one way or the other.
Check out my video below to see exactly how much fun Songkran is!!!
Why is Songkran celebrated?
· There are many different reasons the Thai people celebrate Songkran. Not only is it a time of fun and celebration, but it is an opportunity for them to cleanse themselves of any bad mojo or sins they may have.
· They hope by celebrating it will bring plenty of rainfall in the coming year, and bring them good fortune.
· This is also a time to pay respect to elders, and visit temples for prayer and offering.
· Seeing how April is the hottest part of the year in Thailand, Songkran brings a nice refreshing escape from the humidity and heat.
How should you prepare for Songkran?
· WATERPROOF EVERYTHING! Nothing will stay dry… Make sure to buy a waterproof case for your phone/money. Most shops sell them for only a few dollars.
· Transportation is known to be very busy during this period, causing a lot of trains/flights/accommodation to be booked up in the touristy areas, so make sure you plan accordingly.
· Even if you are planning on staying out of the action, the action will find you… Whether you’re expecting it or not! If you walk outside that means you are fair game. I saw so many backpackers with their backpacks getting drenched, even after telling people to stop… So nothing is safe. If you’re in Thailand during this time, just be prepared while transiting to your accommodation with your belongings.
· Official offices and banks are closed during this three-day holiday.
· Be mindful, if you’re a female, on what you wear. I’d advise wearing a swim suit under your clothes. There is still a culture to be respected.
· Since the King’s death, Thailand announced a ‘year of mourning’. As far as tourism is concerned, Songkran is to still be celebrated as normal, unless of course the Thai Government steps up and says otherwise. They are asking all tourist to dress in dark colors to show respect for the Royal family.
· OH YEAH, and don’t forget to buy a badass water gun! There are so many different styles, color, and sizes of water guns. The possibilities are endless…
Fun fact: The word Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit word “samkranti”, which means astrological passage.