Exploring the Joyful Traditions of Songkran Festival 2023 in Thailand

If you’re wondering what Songkran festival is, It’s a yearly event held in entire Thailand with some water splashing, correction anyways it’s not just “some”, but a crazy amount of cold water for all the people walking around regardless of where they're going or wearing but wait, there’s an exception don’t hit the police officers. This is the event where you’re getting wet all over your body, but in short Songkran Festival is their way to celebrate New Year.

The Thai New Year marks the end of the dry season and the start of the traditional Thai calendar year. The word "Songkran" is derived from Sanskirt 'Sankranti,' meaning "astrological passage." This festival has ancient Hindu origins brought to Thailand by Brahmin priests that were adopted by local Buddhist communities over time. Today it's celebrated throughout the country with much exuberance and joy. It's a time for reunion with family members, paying respects to elders and ancestors, making merit at temples, and engaging in festive activities.

What should I prepare when celebrating Songkran?

You have to be prepared when celebrating this event as I mentioned you’re getting wet all over your body so here some tips for you to keep in mind:

  • Keep your things dry and bring some “drybags” for your emergency things like power banks, phone chargers, notes and spare shirts but not necessary. A waterproof pouch for your phone and bills much easier access to drybags.
  • Bring your waterproof camera to capture the fascinating moments during the Songkran.
  • Hey, respect the people who don’t wanna get splashed by water. But some of them can’t understand it so be prepared hahaha
  • Try some tuk-tuk ride to roam you around the city while having water gun fights

Well, that’s all you need and don’t forget to have some beers while partying. But most importantly bring your friends or family to bring so much fun.

Where should I celebrate Songkran in Thailand?

Thailand is renowned for its festive Songkran celebrations, and there are several places throughout the country where you can join in on the unique celebration. Here are some of the top picks:

  • Bangkok: The capital city of Thailand is known for having some of the grandest Songkran celebrations. Major streets, such as Khao San Road, Silom Road, and Ratchaprasong come alive with water fights, music, and dance. There are processions where colorful floats adorned with flowers and Buddha images are paraded through the streets. Plus, Wat Pho and Wat Arun temples host traditional ceremonies and water-pouring rituals.
  • Chiang Mai: Located in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is popular for its unique "Lanna" culture. During Songkran festivities, visitors will find lively water battles, cultural performances, beauty pageants, and traditional games. Old City is especially vibrant during this time of year!
  • Pattaya: Pattaya is a beach destination located in eastern Thailand that's known for its lively Songkran events. Not only can you find massive water fights on Pattaya's beach road and central areas, but they also have an exciting "Wan Lai" celebration which extends the festivities for several days! 
  • Phuket: The tropical paradise of Phuket in southern Thailand also has vibrant Songkran celebrations at Patong Beach and Bangla Road. Expect lots of music, dance, and entertainment – plus lots of fun! 
  • Chiang Rai: This city located in northern Thailand is famous for its unique Songkran customs like the Salung Luang festival which includes locals dressed in traditional attire performing cultural activities like traditional processions with water pouring ceremonies and cultural performances that highlight Chiang Rai’s heritage. 
  • Ayutthaya: If you’re looking for a more traditional experience then visit Ayutthaya – an ancient capital of Thailand – where historical parks & temples host age-old rituals like pouring water over Buddha images as well as cultural performances to welcome the new year! 

No matter where you decide to celebrate this joyous occasion in Thailand, be sure to get ready to get wet!

How should I greet the people around you while celebrating the Songkran?

There are a lot of ways to greet the Thais even the Farangs during the Songkran Festival, for example saying "Sawasdee Pee Mai", which translates to "Happy New Year" in Thai, is a great way to wish someone a happy Songkran celebration. You may also use "Suk San Wan Songkran", meaning "Happy Songkran Day", on the actual festival day, which is the last day of the celebrations and the Thai New Year's Day.

For those who don't speak Thai, you can use an English phrase such as "Enjoy your Songkran!" or provide longer and more elaborate wishes such as "May you have a joyful and water-filled Songkran!" As you share your wishes, remember to express them with genuine friendliness and respect for local customs and traditions. Additionally, it's also common to join in any water-related activities such as water fights or pouring rituals to further immerse yourself in the spirit of the festival! In summary, it's best to convey your sincere desires for others' happiness, joy, and enjoyment during this festive occasion while being conscious of its cultural significance.

How important is this to Thais?

To Thais, this festival has deep spiritual and social meaning; it’s an opportunity for renewal through cleansing while expressing gratitude towards elders seeking their blessings or making merits.

Hey, I'm Jesther Bas, also known as @jestherthejoker into this innovative world of technology. I'm also a traveller with a goal to capture or discover different cultures and uncover untold stories of the world. Interested? Buy me a coffee!

Jesther Bas
Digital Nomad

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