Thailand’s New Year Celebrations - Songkran 2024

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Thailand’s New Year Celebrations - Songkran
Songkran
, the Thai New Year, is a cornerstone of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage. This festival, filled with tradition and merriment, is celebrated across the country and attracts global attention.

When it's Thailand’s New Year Celebrations - Songkran 2024?

Starts
12 Apr 2024
Ends
16 Apr 2024
Length
4 Days
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The word
Songkran
is derived from the Sanskrit term "
saṃkrānti
", which means "astrological passage". It signifies a period of transformation or change. The festival marks the sun’s transition from Pisces to Aries in the zodiac, symbolizing a time of renewal and rebirth.
Songkran officially commences on April 13th each year and lasts for three days. However, the festivities often extend up to a week, allowing people ample time to travel home and spend time with their families.

The Celebrations of Songkran

Songkran is famously known as the ‘Water Festival’. The act of splashing water is symbolic of washing away negativity from the past year and welcoming the New Year with a fresh start. Here are some key traditions associated with Songkran:
  • Water Fights: Streets turn into battlegrounds for good-natured water fights. Locals and tourists alike arm themselves with water guns, buckets, and hoses to drench each other in a spirit of camaraderie and celebration.
  • Paying Respect to Elders: Thais perform the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual, where they pour fragrant water into the hands of their elders as a gesture of respect and blessings.
  • Visiting Temples: Many Thais visit temples to make merit by offering food to monks, engaging in meditation, and participating in traditional ceremonies.
Songkran is more than just a New Year celebration; it’s a unique blend of fun, respect for tradition, and spiritual renewal. Whether you’re engaging in a city-wide water fight or quietly paying respects at a local temple, Songkran offers an unforgettable experience that truly embodies the spirit of Thai culture.

Additional activities and customs

In addition to these main activities, there are several other customs associated with Songkran:
  • Building Sand Pagodas: In many parts of Thailand, people collect sand from nearby rivers or beaches and bring it to their local temple. They use this sand to build small pagodas or stupas, which are then decorated with colorful flags.
  • Releasing Animals: It’s also common for people to release animals such as birds or fish back into the wild during Songkran. This act is seen to earn merit and bring good luck for the coming year.
  • Traditional Foods: Like any celebration, food plays a significant role in Songkran. Traditional Thai dishes such as pad-thai, green curry, and mango sticky rice are often enjoyed during the festival.
By participating in these activities, Thais not only celebrate their New Year but also pay homage to their ancestors and express gratitude for their blessings. It’s this combination of celebration and deep reverence that makes Songkran such a unique and cherished event in Thai culture.
In conclusion, whether you’re planning a trip to Thailand during
Songkran
or just learning about this fascinating festival from afar, it’s clear that this event is more than just a celebration - it’s an integral part of Thai culture that offers valuable insights into the country’s traditions and values.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that while Songkran is most widely celebrated in Thailand, similar festivals occur throughout Southeast Asia. In Laos it’s called Pi Mai Lao; in Cambodia it’s Chaul Chnam Thmey; in Myanmar it’s Thingyan; and in Sri Lanka it’s Aluth Avurudda. Each has its own unique customs but shares the common theme of cleansing and renewal associated with the New Year.
So, whether you’re getting drenched in Thailand’s water fights or observing any of these other celebrations across Southeast Asia, you’re participating in an age-old tradition that unites millions of people in celebration that is truly something special.