Songkran, or Thailand Happy New Year, is a joyous and festive celebration that marks the start of the Thai New Year. It is a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to a better and brighter future.

Songkran is an opportunity for all to come together, celebrate, and enjoy the warmth of Thai culture and hospitality. People who have witnessed the Thailand Songkran’s solemnity can’t deny this particular celebration’s amazement.

This festival showcases Thailand and Southeast Asia’s unique cultural heritage and traditions. It is a must-see for anyone interested in experiencing the vibrant and joyful atmosphere of the region.

This post will provide detailed information about Songkran, its history, celebration, festivities, etc.

Aquaphobes, avert your attention now…

Songkran Facts & Data

  • The festival is the largest public holiday in Thailand.
  • It originated from an ancient Hindu festival called Pahela Baishakh, celebrated in India and Nepal.
  • “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit language and means “astrological passage”.
  • Songkran, or Happy New Year Thailand, is when people respect their ancestors, clean their homes, and perform traditional rituals.
  • Water is an integral part of the Songkran festival and symbolizes the cleansing of the old year and the beginning of the New Year.
  • Songkran is also known as the “Water Festival” because of the water fights during the festival.
  • Songkran is celebrated in Thailand and neighboring countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
  • In recent years, the Thai government has been promoting Songkran to boost tourism in the country. In 2019, it was estimated that the festival brought in more than 20 billion baht in revenue for Thailand.
  • The festival is celebrated for three days, each with its own set of activities and traditions.
  • In 2020, the Songkran festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and celebrations were held online instead.

What is Thai Happy New Year?

Songkran is the Thai New Year festival celebrated annually from the 13th to the 15th of April. It is a significant event in Thailand, marking the beginning of the traditional Thai calendar.

Thailand’s Happy New Year festival is celebrated across the country, but the most popular destinations for Songkran celebrations include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.

The origin of Songkran can be traced back to ancient times when Thai people used to mark the beginning of the New Year by paying respect to their ancestors, washing and cleaning their homes, and performing traditional rituals.

As time passed, the Thailand Happy New Year festival evolved into a more modern and vibrant celebration with water fights and parties in the streets.

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Celebrating the Festival of Songkran

Happy New Year Thailand festival is celebrated for three days, and each day has a specific meaning and set of activities.

The first day of Songkran is known as Wan Sangkhan Lohng, and it is dedicated to making merit and giving offerings to monks.

Festival Sonkran in Thailand

The second day is called Wan Nao, and it is the day when people start throwing water at each other.

The third and final day is called Wan Thaloeng Sok, and it is the day when people visit their friends and family and ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoings that they may have committed in the past year.

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Traditional Celebrations

The traditional celebration of Thailand’s Happy New Year involves several rituals and customs to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness to the New Year. Here are some of the traditional ways that Songkran is celebrated in Thailand:

Visiting the temple: People visit temples during the Songkran festival to make merit and offer food to monks. It is considered a way to bring good luck and blessings in the New Year.

Pouring water on Buddha statues: It is a tradition to pour water on Buddha statues during Songkran. It is seen as a way to show respect and to cleanse the Buddha image.

Paying respect to elders: Younger people pay respect to their elders during Songkran by pouring scented water on their hands. It is a way to ask for blessings and forgiveness for any wrongdoings in the past year.

Sprinkling water on others: It is common during Songkran to sprinkle water on others to wish them good luck and happiness in the New Year.

sprinkle water on others to wish them good luck and happiness in Songkran New Year

Tying strings around the wrist: People tie strings around each other’s wrists to wish them good luck and prosperity in the New Year.

Cleaning the house: Before the Thailand Happy New Year festival starts, people clean their homes to get rid of any bad luck from the previous year.

Making offerings: People make offerings of food and flowers at home and in temples to bring good luck and prosperity in the New Year.

Traditional games: During Songkran, people also participate in traditional games and activities such as takraw (a game played with a woven ball), klong sok (a water pouring game), and rod nam dam hua (a game where people try to catch a flower in a pot of water).

In addition to the traditional activities, many modern celebrations occur during Thailand’s Happy New Year.

The streets are filled with people, and many food stalls and vendors sell traditional Thai food, souvenirs, and water guns. Many nightclubs and bars also have special events and parties during the festival.

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Water Festivities

Water festivities are an integral part of the Songkran festival, and they are one of the reasons why the festival is also known as the “Water Festival”.

During Songkran, people engage in water fights and other water-related activities to cool off from the hot weather and celebrate the New Year. Here are some of the water festivities during Happy New Year Thailand.

Thailand New Year 2023

Water guns: Water guns are a popular way to participate in water fights during Songkran. People fill their water guns with water and spray each other to have fun and cool off from the heat.

Buckets of water: Another popular way to participate in the water fights is to use buckets of water. People fill buckets with water, pour them on each other, and have fun.

Hosepipes: Some people use hosepipes to spray water on others during Happy New Year Thailand. It is a more efficient way to get people wet and is often used by groups.

Water-filled balloons: Water-filled balloons are a popular way to participate in water fights during Songkran. People fill balloons with water and throw them to drench each other and have fun.

Water trucks: In some areas, water trucks are used to spray water on people during the Songkran festival. It can be a more organized way to participate in water fights and is often used by local authorities and businesses.

Water splashing: Water splashing is another popular Happy New Year Thailand activity. People stand on the side of the road with buckets of water and splash water on passing vehicles and pedestrians.

Water tunnels: In some areas, people create water tunnels by hanging hoses or shower curtains over the road. People then walk or drive through the water tunnel to get drenched with water.

The water festivities during the Songkran festival are meant to be a fun and lighthearted way to celebrate the New Year. However, it is essential to be respectful and safe during the festivities and avoid engaging in any activities that could harm others.

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Songkran Celebration in Different Parts of Thailand

Chaing Mai

One of the best places to celebrate Songkran is in the northern city of Chiang Mai.

The city is known for its traditional celebrations, and the festival is celebrated for an entire week. The festivities in Chiang Mai are more subdued than in other parts of the country, and they focus more on traditional activities and rituals.

Here are some of the ways that Songkran is celebrated in Chiang Mai:

Parade: On the first day of the festival, a parade takes place in Chiang Mai, featuring elaborately decorated floats, traditional Thai dancers, and music. The parade starts at Tha Phae Gate and moves through the city streets.

Water fights: Water fights are famous during the Songkran festival in Chiang Mai. People gather in the streets armed with water guns, buckets, and hoses to drench each other with water.

Songkran Celebration in Different Parts of Thailand

Street vendors: Street vendors selling food, drinks, and souvenirs are a common sight during the Songkran festival in Chiang Mai.

Temple ceremonies: Several temples in Chiang Mai host special ceremonies during the Songkran festival. These ceremonies involve pouring water on Buddha images and seeking blessings for the New Year.

Cultural performances: Cultural performances and shows portray traditional Thai music and dance throughout the festival. These performances take place in various locations throughout Chiang Mai.

Flower displays: During the Songkran festival, many temples and public spaces in Chiang Mai are decorated with elaborate flower displays. These displays feature colorful and intricate arrangements of flowers, plants, and other natural materials.

The Songkran festival in Chiang Mai is a vibrant and exciting celebration of Thailand’s Happy New Year.

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Bangkok

The Songkran or Happy New Year Thailand festival is celebrated enthusiastically in Bangkok, and the city becomes a giant water fight.

People pour water on each other from buckets, water guns, and hosepipes and the streets are lined with vendors selling water guns, plastic bags, and buckets.

One of the best places to experience the Thailand Happy New Year festival in Bangkok is on Khao San Road, which is closed to traffic during the festival. The street is packed with people splashing water and dancing to traditional Thai music.

Another popular spot is Silom Road, where water fights occur day and night.

Bangkok

In addition to the water fights, many people visit temples during Songkran to perform merit-making activities such as making donations, offering food to monks, and releasing fish and birds to symbolize giving back to the community.

Another famous way to celebrate Songkran in Bangkok is by sprinkling scented water on each other as a symbol of washing away bad luck and starting the New Year fresh.

Songkran in Bangkok is a festive and joyful celebration that brings people together to welcome the New Year.

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Phuket

Phuket is also a popular destination for Songkran celebrations. The celebrations in Phuket are more relaxed than in other parts of the country, and they focus more on beach parties and nightlife.

In Phuket, the main areas for Songkran celebrations are Patong and Phuket Town.

In Patong, the streets are closed to traffic during the festival, and people gather to engage in water fights and other festivities. Many people wear traditional Thai clothing and bring water guns or buckets to splash water on each other.

In Phuket, the celebrations are more cultural and traditional. There are processions and parades featuring beautifully decorated floats and traditional Thai music. People also visit the local temples to offer food and pay respects to the Buddha.

Another famous way to celebrate the Happy New Year Thailand festival in Phuket is by participating in the “Rod Nam Dum Hua” ceremony. It is a traditional ceremony where people pour scented water on the hands of elders as a sign of respect and ask for their blessings for the New Year.

The Songkran festival in Phuket is a time for Thais to celebrate their culture and traditions.

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Songkran Festival Tips

If you plan to celebrate Thailand New Year 2023 festival, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience.

Dress appropriately: Wear light, quick-drying clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Wearing a waterproof bag or case for your phone and other valuables is also a good idea.

Stay hydrated: Thailand Happy New Year festival is celebrated during the hottest time of the year in Thailand, so drink plenty of water and stay in the shade when you can.

Be respectful: Songkran is a religious festival for many Thai people, so respecting their customs and traditions is important. Don’t splash water on monks, pregnant women, or the elderly, and avoid using water mixed with ice or anything else that could be considered disrespectful.

Use only clean water: While Songkran is a water festival, it’s important to use clean water when splashing or spraying others.

Plan your transportation: Traffic can be hefty during Songkran, so plan your transportation accordingly.

Conclusion

Songkran, or Thailand Happy New Year, is a vibrant and exciting festival that is celebrated across Thailand. With its lively water fights, delicious food, and traditional ceremonies, Songkran is a celebration that should not be missed if you have the opportunity to experience it in Thailand.

Have fun! Songkran is a time for celebration and joy, so don’t be afraid to let loose and enjoy the festivities.

Experience Thai culture and enjoy the flavors of Songkran with Bookit N Go’s exciting travel deals for Thailand.

The company offers affordable flights and accommodation so that you can fully immerse yourself in the festivities and enjoy all that Songkran offers.

FAQs

What food is eaten during Songkran?

Many delicious foods are prepared and eaten during Songkran in Thailand. Here are some popular choices:

Khao Chae: This is a traditional Thai rice dish served with side dishes, including fried shrimp paste balls, stuffed shallots, sliced beef, and pickled vegetables.

Kanom Tom: These are sticky rice balls filled with sweet or savory fillings, such as coconut, peanuts, or minced pork.

Khao Neow Mamuang: This popular dessert is made from sticky rice, sliced mango, and sweetened coconut milk.

Som tam: This spicy and sour papaya salad is made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili peppers.

Grilled meats: During the Thailand Happy New Year festival, you will find many street vendors selling grilled meat skewers, such as chicken, pork, or beef. They are often marinated with fragrant herbs and spices, making a delicious and satisfying snack.

What is symbolic of Songkran Festival?

The Songkran, or Thailand Happy New Year festival, is rich in symbolism and tradition. Here are some of the main symbols associated with the festival:

Water: The water used during Songkran symbolizes cleansing and renewal, as well as the start of the rainy season in Thailand.

Buddha statues: During the festival, people pour water over Buddha statues to show respect and seek blessings for the Happy New Year in Thailand.

White clothing: White is the traditional color worn during Songkran, symbolizing purity and new beginnings.

Sand pagodas: These are tiny structures made of sand that Thai people build during the festival. They symbolize the impermanence of life and the importance of living in the moment.

Food offerings: Many Thai people offer food to monks during Songkran to make merit and receive blessings for the New Year.

How many festivals does Thailand have each year?

Thailand has a diverse and rich culture, reflected in its many festivals throughout the year. Several major festivals are widely celebrated across the country. Here are some of the most important festivals in Thailand:

Songkran (Thai New Year): Celebrated in mid-April, Songkran is one of the most popular festivals in Thailand.

Loy Krathong: This festival takes place in November and is a celebration of the end of the rainy season.

Yi Peng: Held in November, this festival features the release of thousands of floating lanterns into the night sky.

Vegetarian Festival: This festival takes place in October and involves vegetarianism, self-purification, and street processions.

King’s Birthday: Celebrated on December 5th this is a national holiday in Thailand with fireworks, parades, and other celebrations.

Chinese New Year: This festival is celebrated by the Thai-Chinese community and is a time of colorful parades, dragon dances, and fireworks.

What gifts are given in Songkran?

It’s worth noting that giving and receiving gifts during Songkran is more about the gesture and thought behind the gift rather than its monetary value.

In Thai culture, showing gratitude and respect through gift-giving is important to maintaining social harmony and strengthening relationships.

Traditional gifts are often given in the Songkran festival. Some popular gifts include:

Flowers: Flowers are a common gift during Songkran, particularly jasmine and orchids, which symbolize purity and beauty.

Fruit: Fresh fruit is also another popular gift during Songkran, mainly tropical fruits like mangoes, durian, and rambutan.

Sweets and snacks: Thai sweets and snacks, such as coconut candy, roasted peanuts, and crispy rice cakes, make for tasty and thoughtful gifts.

Clothing: New clothes are often given as gifts during Songkran, particularly white garments, considered auspicious and symbolize new beginnings.

Perfume and beauty products: Perfume, scented oils, and beauty products are popular gifts during Songkran, particularly those made from natural and traditional ingredients.