Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year, celebrated annually from April 13 to 15. It is one of the most significant festivals in Thailand, marking the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season. Songkran is not only a time for people to enjoy a long holiday, but it is also an occasion to pay respect to elders, cleanse oneself, and have fun with friends and family. In this article, we will explore some of the traditions that make Songkran a unique and exciting festival in Thailand.
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One of the most popular traditions during Songkran is the water-splashing activities. It is believed that splashing water symbolizes the washing away of bad luck and misfortune, as well as the cleansing of one’s body and soul. During the festival, people gather in the streets armed with buckets, water guns, and hoses, ready to drench each other with water. It is not uncommon to see people riding on the back of trucks, throwing water at passersby. The water-splashing activities are a fun and joyful way to celebrate the New Year and to escape the heat.
Temple Visits and Offerings
Another important tradition during Songkran is visiting temples and making offerings to Buddha. This is a time for people to reflect on their lives, seek blessings from the monks, and perform merit-making activities. People usually bring food, flowers, and other offerings to the temples and pour water over the Buddha statues as a sign of respect. Some temples also organize cultural events and ceremonies during Songkran.
Songkran is a time for family reunions, where people return to their hometowns to celebrate the festival with their loved ones. Family members usually gather at the elders’ homes to pay respect and seek blessings. It is also a time for the younger generation to show their gratitude and pay homage to their ancestors. The family reunions during Songkran provide a great opportunity for people to strengthen their bonds and show their love and respect for one another.
Traditional foods and drinks
Food plays an essential role in Thai culture, and Songkran is no exception. During the festival, people enjoy a variety of traditional foods and drinks, such as Khao Chae, a dish of rice soaked in jasmine-scented water, and Nam Kang Sai, a dessert made with shaved ice and sweet syrup. People also drink herbal drinks such as Cha Yen, a sweet Thai iced tea, and Nam Doc Mai, a sweet and tangy mango juice. These foods and drinks are not only delicious but also help to cool down the body during the hot season.
Songkran is a festival that embodies the rich culture and traditions of Thailand. It is a time for people to come together, have fun, and show their respect and gratitude to their elders, ancestors, and deities. The water-splashing activities, temple visits and offerings, family reunions, and traditional foods and drinks are some of the traditions that make Songkran a unique and exciting festival in Thailand. If you ever have the chance to visit Thailand during Songkran, make sure to join in the festivities and experience the joy and spirit of the festival.