Songkran Water Festival
When- April 13- 15
Where- Chiang Mai, Thailand
About- Songkran stands to be the most popular festival of Thailand that marks the beginning of the new solar year and the start of summer season as well. It is the Thai New Year’s festival. The Thai New Year’s Day is 13 April every year, but the holiday period includes 14–15 April as well.
The northern capital of Chiang Mai plays host to the biggest celebrations of Songkran, with some festivities reputedly spanning six days.
This is the water fight of your dreams, so back up your Super Soakers, water balloons, and water bottles and head to Thailand for a wet and wild adventure. For three days virtually the entire country turns into a celebratory war zone. Children with huge water guns roam the streets or sit in the back of their parents’ pick-up trucks, which are loaded with buckets of water that is dispensed on anyone who happens to be within reach.
Songkran is a Spring Cleaning Day, both physically and spiritually. On the physical side, in addition to cleaning other customs are that anything old and useless must be thrown away or else it will bring bad luck to the owner. On the spiritual side, some people make New Year resolutions.
History- Songkran in Thai means to ‘move’ or ‘change place’. At some point in Thailand’s history, Songkran integrated with the Water Festival, which historically occurred on the day when the sun changes position in the zodiac. The Thai people believe that water is spiritually purifying: it cleanses you of any bad luck or grievances from the past year, and blesses you with fortune and happiness for the year ahead. The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti, meaning transformation or change. The term was borrowed from Makar Sankranti, the name of a Hindu harvest festival celebrated in India in January to mark the arrival of spring.
The date was originally set by astrological calculations, but it is now fixed on 13 April. The festival may be extended if some of the celebrations fall over a weekend.
The festival originated with locals collecting water that had been poured over Buddha statues for cleansing. This was then used to bless village elders and family members by trickling it over their shoulders. Since these somewhat genteel beginnings, Songkran has developed into a kingdom-wide water fight, occurring in April, which luckily happens to be Thailand’s hottest month. As with many historical and cultural festivals, the emphasis has shifted from the spiritual and religious to enjoyment and joviality.