Songkran Festival: More Than Just A Water Gun Fight3 min read
Have you celebrated Songkran in Thailand?
The better question is, have you ever experienced a New Year celebration so lit you were beside yourself?
No? Me neither because I thought my New Year’s were lit, but not so much.
And to think I missed Songkran back in 2017. And when 2018 rolled up, I thought I couldn’t miss it this time.
Songkran is a water festival that signifies the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Thai calendar. This is a three-day festival that happens between April 13-15 give a take a few days depending on the region.
The largest Songkran festival happens in Northern Thailand in Chiang Mai, where it originated. If you want to experience this incredible festival, Chiang Mai is known to be the most authentic example of it.
Why Does It Matter?
Songkran means astrological passage or transformation or change. It marks the arrival of spring. Many people will visit local temples and bring offerings to the Buddhist monks.
And traditionally Buddha images from homes and temples are purified (washed and cleansed) as a way to wash away sins and bad luck. People also pray and show deep respect for their ancestors.
But people also take the time to clean their homes. It’s semi-equivalent to spring cleaning in the States. And water is poured onto the elder’s hands as a show of respect, to send good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year.
Okay. What About The Water Guns?
Well, what started with the pouring of the water onto elders hands morphed into pouring water on other people.
It became popular with the younger Thais and tourists. And trust me when I say Chiang Mai is intense––we got injured. They splashed Nubia with a bucket of water, and it gave her conjunctivitis. Then I broke out in hives on my arms and legs from the moat water.
If you’re anywhere near the moat water, you will taste it. It’s probably the wettest we’ve ever been (even in the shower).
And it’s ruthless because there are grandmothers and babies geared up to slay you with their super soakers.
You can rent Tuk Tuk’s (which we did) to drive you through the crowd (and city). You can fit about four people. But what’s even better is, you’re given an enormous (trash) bin with a block of ice so you can spray ice water at anyone within range.
Well if you’re in the city. If you’re walking, driving, riding, you’re a target. One day I forgot it was Songkran and I went on a 7/11 run, and they got me.
Thailand Festivals Are The Business
So yes, it feels like one big ass water gun fight, but it’s a renewal, the celebration of change and transformation.
It’s one neighbor to another sending prosperity and well wishes for the year.
Thailand has an abundance of festivals that allow you to experience spiritual rituals. So, if you have the opportunity to be a part of these beautiful festivals, plan your trip around them because you’ll be glad you did.
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Frantzces is the co-founder of Chronicles Abroad and a Life Coach. She writes on various online platforms such as Tiny Buddha, Medium and is a regular contributor to SOULE, an online publication for LGBTQ news and pop culture. Her mission in life is to inspire people to live a meaningful life that feeds their souls. Life is like a movie but unlike movies, there are no sequels. Click here for your FREE guide: 4 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress: Anytime, Anywhere For Less Than 15 Minutes.