A country-wide water-fight & the only holiday where you’ll be drenched 24/7
Songkran occurs during the hottest month of the year and while schools are on holiday. The whole country has the chance to relax and cool off, while people drench one another with water buckets, water guns, and any other water-spraying device. Songkran is a national holiday so banks and most businesses will be closed during the three-day period, so take that into consideration when planning for your trip.
A Look at Songkran Rituals
As a New Year’s tradition, Songkran is celebrated through purification rituals, water offerings to temples, and as a way to wash away the impurities accumulated over the past year. Over time, the yearly ritual has evolved into a country-wide water fight involving ice buckets and super-soakers.
Traditional rituals include pouring water over Buddha statues for good luck and then sprinkling that water over loved ones as a blessing. Today many people still take this time to wash their personal Buddha statues and make offerings to monks in the form of food, clothing, and flowers.
The second day of the celebration is National Family Day. While most tourists head to the biggest cities for chaotic celebrations, many Thai people retreat back home to visit their families.
Songkran is the largest celebration in Thailand, and it occurs every spring during the passing of the sun into the Aries zodiac month. Unlike other calendars that are set according to the lunar year, Thailand’s calendar was originally set according to the sun and star alignment.
Before the New Year was moved to January 1st, the Thai New Year took place on April 13th. Therefore, the Songkran festival now officially begins during the second week of April. Depending on which region you visit, this giant water fight can range from 1-2 days to nearly 10 days of constant water shenanigans.
What makes Songkran unique?
- Anyone can participate; all ages, religions, and nationalities are welcome!
- It’s FREE! (Other than the purchase of a water gun)
- Tens of thousands of people crowd the streets to partake in drenching one another with water
- Everyone is smiling and enjoying the festival while embracing a piece of Thailand’s unique culture. Who doesn’t love a friendly water fight?
Where to go for Songkran
Our XploreAsia team will be hosting our own water fight party for previous teachers and students to reconnect at our office in Hua Hin. If you’re in the area, stop by to say hello and soak our team with water! We’d love to see you!
If you’re interested in completing a TESOL course in Thailand but you aren’t sure about which date to choose, consider coming in April! Not only will you have the chance to complete the TESOL course in preparation for when school starts again in May, you’ll also be able celebrate Songkran with other TESOL course students and the XploreAsia team. It’s a holiday you won’t want to miss out on!
Driving during the Songkran celebration is not encouraged due to the high number of participants crowding the streets and drenching drivers with water. Also note that there is an endless flow of alcohol during these four days, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and refrain from getting behind the wheel.
Also if you’re celebrating in Chiang Mai, be aware that moat water will most likely be used and it may contain bacteria, so protect your eyes and don’t swallow the water! Lastly, take extra precautions to stay safe while travelling to and from the popular Songkran sites. Public transportation is encouraged as traffic will be mostly at a standstill.
Whether you are craving a chaotic mob of super soakers or dreaming of tranquil time with loved ones, Songkran offers the time for both. Just remember, when you find yourself inevitably drenched in water, to take a moment to embrace the beauty of Thailand’s unique culture. This holiday is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that won’t want to miss!
With that said, gather your Rambo gear, collect your water weapon of choice, and get ready to celebrate the New Year as the Thais do!
Have you celebrated Songkran before? Do you prefer water guns, water balloons, or super-soakers? Do you have plans for the Songkran celebration this year? Come by our XploreAsia office to celebrate with us – we’d love to see you!