Songkran is one of the most popular festivals in Thailand. This extremely important event marks the start of the traditional Thai New Year. However, this unique festival is not only limited to Thailand because it is also famous in Burma, Cambodia, and Laos.
What makes this festival so fun and interesting is water, and lots of it. In recent times, the festival has transformed into throwing buckets of ice cold water, and watching locals chase each other around and soak one another with water pistols.
The festival is deeply rooted in tradition and for some people it is a time to show respect to elders by pouring scented water over their hands, but for the rest of the country, it is time to get wet and wild.
The Songkran Festival takes place from April 13th until the 15th. On the first day of the festival, known as Songkran day, the celebration begins with images of Buddha being paraded throughout the country in joyous celebration of the upcoming New Year, but soon enough, the giant water fight unfolds.
Police try to limit the water throwing to the first day of the festival, but their attempts are mostly in vain because the party keeps going, and the water usually keeps flowing for the duration of the festival
The actual New Year’s Day in Thailand is on April 15th, the last day of the festival. It is common for locals to leave offerings at temples and the day is packed full of special events.
The Songkran Festival originated when farmers where waiting for the rainy season to begin so that they could plant their rice. In fact, it was held during the driest part of each year which made it a bit ironic because they “wasted” water by pouring it over the elder’s hands. Eventually, this small amount of water being poured by a few people transformed into enormous crowds throwing masses of water in every direction.
Be prepared to get quite wet because nobody from locals to foreigners will be spared in the exchange of water. Small children are known for carrying water pistols and small containers of water just waiting to find someone to soak.
For anyone who does plan on going out into the street, make sure to leave any kind of valuables that will be damaged by water back at the hotel. Luckily, with the advent of waterproof cameras, you can get up close and personal to the action and capture some amazing photos in the process.