Songkran marks beginning of the Thai New Year in line with the Buddhist calendar. It’s easily Thailand’s most famous festival. Yet, many who don’t know of the holiday’s long-held traditions might think Songkran is primarily about splashing water. In fact, there are other important reasons why Songkran is important in Thailand.
Songkran is for families. For Thai people, the New Year period means family gatherings to enjoy festive meals and uphold holiday traditions. One very important Songkran tradition is paying respect to elders. For this, Thai children gently pour, not splash, scented water over the palms of parents and grandparents as an act of gratitude and devotion.
Songkran is a major Buddhist holiday in Thailand. The origin of Songkran relates directly to Buddhism, and its rites and rituals remain central to modern celebrations. Every Songkran holiday period includes at least one visit to a local temple for prayers in addition to offerings of food and alms to monks.
Songkran is a time to tidy. Central to the meaning of Songkran is cleansing, both mentally as well as outwardly regarding one’s physical surroundings. Homes are given a thorough going over, Buddha images and figures carefully washed, and public areas such as parks and pavements get swept clean – all in the understanding that allowing dirt to accumulate will, just like bad thoughts, lead to problems later in the year.
Songkran isn’t, of course, all work and solemn duties. It’s also an exceptionally happy time featuring not only joyous splashing, but also even more smiles and friendliness than usual. During Songkran, you’re certain to be wished a warm ‘Happy New Year! Many times throughout the holiday. And probably get very wet.
At Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit, Songkran is just as special. For our Songkran dining, click here!
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