Songkran, Thai New Year
If you visit Thailand during the mid-April period, you will witness the biggest festival of the nation. This is the time when the Thai new year is celebrated and it’s also called “Songkran”. You can witness and take part in the traditional acts during this New Year period. Songkran is characterized by a big holiday where people go to the temple, eat, drink, enjoy different acts, and participate in water throwing during the full festival. It is a four-day festival that begins on April 12 and ends on April 15. In some cities it can be only 3 days (normally Nakhon Ratchasima) while in Chiang Mai, the festival runs for one week.
Wan Songkran Lohng – Day 1
Wan Songkran Lohng is the first day of the festival i.e. April 12. People generally engage into various preparations for the event and do house cleaning. However, people in Chiang Mai take part in the Songkran procession on this day. Many respected persons and locals join the procession that includes images of Buddha and excellently decorated items. After the parade, water throwing begins.
Wan Nao- Day 2
The second day of the festival is Wan Nao and it takes place on April 13. People prepare foods on this day and keep it for the Buddhist merit making, which takes place on the next day. The premises of Wat Prasingh temple get filled with people. Locals visit Mae Ping River’s banks to collect sand and mount it up in the temple. On top of the sand-mount, they place flowers and deposit it.
Wan Payawan- Day 3
This is the third day of the festival that is celebrated on April 14. The celebration of New Year starts in the early morning and many people get engaged into merit making by offering the preserved foods that were cooked a day before. However, it is not that people only offer preserved foods at the temples, monks’ robes, fresh fruits and several other things are also offered. People use scented water to conduct the final cleaning of Buddha images.
Wan Parg-bpee- Day 4
The final day of the event is called the Wan Parg-bpee, which is celebrated on April 15. People on this day pay homage to their elders and ancestors that command respect in their lives. The day is also regarded as the ‘Rohd Nam Songkran’ that implies “The Pouring of Songkran Water”. This is done with the belief that the elders will bless good luck for pouring this holy water on them. On the other hand, the atmosphere is Chiang Mai more fun-filled where people throw water to each other and enjoy the celebration.
Songkran is the biggest event that takes place every year in Thailand. Thailand is probably the only nation where three different new years are celebrated activity. Apart from Songkran that takes place in April, the nation also celebrates the Chinese Lunar New year in February and the general New Year on 31st December. However, Songkran remains the best of them all.