Thailand: the Songkran festival is an unforgettable experience

Also known as the Thai New Year, Songkran is one of the most famous and iconic festivals in Thailand. Buddhist New Year is celebrated every year on April 13th like in other Asian countries. Songkran is known for its joyous water fights, temple visits and a strong sense of community.

Songkran Festival Dates

From April 13 to April 15 every year

Officially held every year on April 13, Songkran is a public holiday in Thailand. However, most celebrations start at least a week in advance and continue until April 16. It is a week full of joy, celebration and reflection on the past year. The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word “samkranti”, which means change or transformation, and it is on this note that Thais welcome the new year. It is customary to wish each other “sawadee pi mai” or “happy new year”.

songkran – elephant

Thai Water Festival

Songkran is often called the “Water Festival” because the most famous aspect of the celebration is the water fights that take place across the country. Young and old take to the streets armed with water guns, hoses and buckets and spray each other in a playful and refreshing way. Water symbolizes cleansing and renewal, as well as removing bad luck.

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Songkran festival parade in Thailand

Songkran is a popular festival throughout Thailand, although each region celebrates it differently. In the north, people celebrate the festival by preparing tons of food to distribute to family, friends and monks at the temple, and also by bursting firecrackers at night. In central Thailand, people clean their homes and dress in traditional clothes. Another symbolic gesture is the release of wild animals such as birds and fish. In the East, it is customary to visit temples, create sand pagodas and prepare food for older family members. In the South, people commemorate Songkran by avoiding spending money and telling the truth.

Tradition and Respect: Although water fights are exuberant and fun, Songkran is deeply rooted in tradition and respect.

It is time for Thais to pay their respects to their elders by pouring scented water on their hands and asking for their blessings. It is also a time to visit temples and show your merit by making offerings and attending ceremonies.

Many Thais participate in religious rituals during Songkran, including pouring water over Buddha images to purify them. This is done in a solemn and reverent manner in temples across the country.

Traditional clothing: During Songkran, many people wear traditional Thai clothing such as sarongs and brightly colored shirts.

In many cities, including Chiang Mai and Bangkok, the streets are filled with merriment, live music, dance performances and elaborate parades. These events bring locals and tourists together for an unforgettable experience.

Songkran – Thailand 2024

World Water Festival Maha Songkran 2024 supported by various ministries

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has officially announced that the extravagant “Maha Songkran World Water Festival 2024” will be held on 11/15 in Bangkok, along Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue and at Sanam Luang.

The event aims to illustrate Thailand’s rich culture and tradition of soft power through spectacular Songkran parades and celebrations.

Songkran generates significant revenue for Thailand

TAT expects the “Maha Songkran World Water Festival 2024” to inspire more travel and tourism activities from April 12 to 16, generating 24.42 billion Bath in total tourism revenue, an increase of 18% compared to the same period in 2023.

This represents 8.76 billion baht from international tourism and 15.66 billion baht from domestic tourism, with 510,000 visitor arrivals and 4.29 million domestic trips. Songkran celebrations in Bangkok are expected to generate 3.69 billion baht in revenue and attract 653,590 domestic trips.

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