The scorching heat of summer is no exemption for Thai’s culture. As April being the hottest month, this is also the time of the year when natives play a fun role in the so-called Songkran Festival. Among the cities of Thailand, Bangkok has the most number of people including foreigners who are also there to join the longest celebration in the country. Street parties, family reunions and friendly water fights are all combined, making Songkran as the grandest and the most colorful event.
By definition, Songkran festival is a 3-day Holiday and is a Thai’s way of celebrating New Year. In the past years, the date lies based on the lunar calendar but now it is fixed and usually being celebrated on April 13-April 15. Based on tradition, Songkran is about family and religious worship.
As part of the event, families conduct reunions, offer prayers and food to the monks, visit Buddhist monasteries and clean off just every junk in their houses believing that these would bring good luck for the remaining months of the year. Also, during the event, younger individuals pour water with exotic perfume in the palms of elders and Buddha images to ask for blessing.
Like other cultures, Thailand is also rich in so many beliefs and symbolisms. The water as part of the event symbolizes “cleansing” or “rejuvenating”. Of course, who would want to get wet in the middle of the streets for no good reason? The truth is that, natives throw water to others to wash all the misfortunes and struggles in the previous year as well as to refresh everything for the brand new year.
Songkran is celebrated nationwide although the date may vary from region to region. In some regions, the celebration is celebrated earlier because they cherish the fun and excitement for a week. Anyway, depending on where you are in the country, just prepare yourself for water fights. Or, you must bring water containers to protect yourself. If you wish to bring your kids in the event then, they are truly welcome. In fact, it’s not a surprise to see kids equipped with their water guns soaking every passerby.
By the way, let’s have a break with those water fights. In some regions, there are special events done along with the celebration of Songkran festival. Just imagine how fun it is to see transsexual ladyboys dressing up to appear like real ladies while escorting some guys on streets. The truth is that they look prettier than ladies out there!
When the celebration is about to end and just every participant is already tired, the best thing to do is to pay a visit to the nearby restaurants and eat. Unlike other traditional restaurants, Thai dishes are truly one of a kind. The best curry in the country is green curry or locally known as Geng Kheaw Wan. For desserts, you should pay a visit to Khon Kaen and try their Mango Sticky Rice. Finally, your stay in Thailand will not be complete without tasting the famous Pad Thai.
After all, Songkran is not just about fun but an event that teaches people about the meaning of faith and respect. In Thailand, there is no doubt natives are the most friendly and respectful.