Songkran – Thailand’s answer to the New Year – is celebrated with laughs, color, and a lot of water. Based off the Buddhist and Hindu calendar, April 13th to the 15th marks a new period for everyone.
Depending on where you are in Thailand, they may celebrate it a little bit differently. For example, the South will focus on taking a day of rest and being honest. The North, on the other hand, celebrates with firecrackers and loud gunfire to frighten away bad luck. The feeding of monks, chalk, and color can also play a part depending on the location; regardless though, water is probably involved.
The water represents a washing away of sins, a cleansing for a fresh start. You’ll see people riding on elephants, using them as living water guns and others pouring water over statues and idols as a ceremonial offering.
Streets will close and everyone participates—willingly or unwillingly, so if you find yourself walking down the street during this time just expect to be soaked. There are parades, ornaments adorning streets and cars, and even a pageant to choose “Miss Songkran.” Songkran is a day steeped in culture, tradition, and fun. To learn more about the special day, especially if you plan on participating, click here.