Songkran festival marks the New Year for most Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. In Thailand, the pouring of water symbolizes cleansing, good health, and prosperity for the coming year. This is done by gently pouring perfumed-water onto the body or head, in the case of an elder to someone younger. Younger individuals pour water onto the body of someone older, not on the face or head as this is considered a disrespect.
Songkran is officially celebrated on the 13th to the 15th of April. This is the time when families reunite to pay respect to elders and visit temples for prayer and offering. Most establishments like schools, government offices, banks, and family-run businesses are closed during this time.
Modern day Songkran, on the other hand, has a fun-filled twist in it. As Songkran gains popularity among tourists, it has become one of the grandest and most visited festival in Thailand. In major cities, it is celebrated with water guns, prickly-heat powder and ice cold water. The friendly splashing of water is done whole day long amidst the scorching heat as April is the hottest month of the year in this part of the world. There is a lot of dancing, booze, and merry-making. Some places host foam party with boombastic music, dancing, and tons of alcoholic drinks. In tourist favorite places like Trang, Phuket, Koh Lanta and Ao Nang Krabi means scantily-clad tourist parttaking in water splashing along the streets without knowing that Songkran is a meaningful festival that has its roots way back in time.
How was your Songkran?