Thai New Year, or Songkran Festival as it is known, is traditionally celebrated for 3 days and runs from 13th to 15th April every year. The Songkran Festival indicates the new era of the Thai New Year.
This Thai New Year is the year 2558 in the Buddhist Calendar. During the festival, people visit Buddhist temples and worship the great Buddha.
The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit language and means the passage of the sun from one sign of the Zodiac to another. That means there are twelve Songkrans each year, but the significance of the this Songkran (sometimes called Major Songkran to distinguish it from the others) is when the sun enters the sign of Aries the Ram. The particular event was also closely related to the Vernal Equinox.
Having fun is a big part of Thai culture, and having fun amidst scorching heat is no exception. The hottest month of the year, April sees the entire country go bananas in friendly water fights and street parties that last nearly a week. Many Thais observe the holidays by spending time with families and friends.
Traditionally, Thais perform the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual on the first day of Songkran, which is officially the National Elderly Day. During the ritual, young people would pour fragrant water into the elders’ palms as a gesture of humility and to ask for their blessings.
The second day of Songkran is officially the National Family Day. Families would wake up early and give alms to the monks, then ideally the rest of the day would be spent sharing quality family time together. An important religious ritual on Songkran is ‘Bathing the Buddha image’, in which devout Buddhists pour fragrant water over Buddha statues both at the temple and at home.
More religious Thais would engage themselves in Buddhist ceremonies and merit-making activities throughout the holidays.
SAWADEE PEE MAI!
(Happy New Year in Thai)