Songkran Festival 2013
Every April, the people of Thailand can be found drenched in water as they celebrate the Songkran Festival. Also known as the annual Water Festival, the celebration traditionally marks the beginning of the solar New Year and is known as the most important festival in all of Thailand. Songkran Festival 2013 will occur from April 13 through 15 and will feature many of the following common festivities and celebrations.
Water, Water Everywhere
If there is one guarantee during Songkran Festival 2013, it is that participants will get wet. From water pistols to simple buckets of water dumped on passing people, the dousing of one another in water is a key component of the Thai New Year. All of this public watering is done in a sense of playfulness, and tourists are invited to bring their water guns with them to enjoy the wet custom, too. Both elders and images of Buddha are sprinkled with water during the festival in order to symbolize deep respect.
Homage to Buddha
During Songkran Festival 2013, expect to see plenty of people paying homage to Buddha and Buddhist monks. This is typically carried out by visiting Buddhist temples, gently cleaning Buddhist statues and other images within the temples and paying alms to the monks who live and work in the temples. Tourists may also respectfully participate in this annual tradition if they wish.
Chances to Celebrate Throughout Thailand
Songkran Festival 2013 is expected to be one of the biggest highlights of the year, if not the biggest event of all, for tourism in Thailand. No matter where tourists plan on visiting, there will likely be a celebration to participate in. Here are a few highlighted celebrations expected to be hits with tourists and locals alike:
- Khao Nieo Road’s Songkran Festival and Dok Khun Siang Khaen Festival
- Phuket Bike Week and Songkran on the Beach
- Bangkok Songkran Splendours Festival
- Nong Khai Songkran Festival
- Chiang Mai’s Songkran Festival
- Samut Prakan’s Phra Padaeng Songkran Festival
- Nakhon Phanom Songkran Festival
- Sukhothai Songkran Festival
- Songkhla’s Hat Yai Midnight Songkran Festival
- Sphan Buri Province’s Great Songkran Day
- Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Songkran Festival
- Chon Buri Songkran Festival
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Songkran Festival
Traditional celebrations of Songkran Festival began with the coming of the solar New Year. In modern times, however, the holiday has become a fixed festival based on Western calendar dates. The festival normally runs for three full days. Many employees in Thailand, however, can expect to take a full week off in celebration of the country’s largest holiday.
Since the Songkran Festival usually coincides with the hottest days of the year, the use of so much water is often a welcome gift to both residents of Thailand as well as tourists who may not come prepared for such excessive heat. As with many cultural holidays, Songkran Festival no longer carries as much religious meaning as it has in the past, and instead serves mainly as a time of celebration and relaxation today.