Local authorities are set to highlight family values and traditional elements during this year’s Songkran festival, in contrast to the focus on water plays and wild celebrations in the past years.
This year, TAT will be joining with various provincial authorities to organise and host Songkran Splendours activities in 12 major provinces of the four Thai regions. Family-friendly activities will be arranged for locals and visitors during April 11-20. The theme of this year’s Songkran celebrations has been chosen to reflect the traditional beliefs that the element of water is imbued with near-miraculous qualities. Water is believed to help unite families and bring friends together.
Songkran Festival is one of the most celebrated festivals in Thailand. Songkran Day, which occurs on April 13th, marks the New Year on the ancient Thai calendar. The second day of Songkran is officially the National Family Day. Families would wake up early and offer alms to the monks before proceeding to share quality family time together.
Traditionally, Thais would politely pour a bowl of water on members of the family, their close friends and neighbours. As Songkran has taken a more festive note, a bowl is replaced by a bucket, garden hose and water guns in all provinces of the country.
Songkran is believed to have been adopted from the Sankranti Hindu festival. It coincides with the New Year of many calendars of South and Southeast Asia. In Nepal, the official New Year is celebrated on the 1st of Baisakh according to astrological calendar Vikram Samwat and the day often falls somewhere between 12–15 April.
The Water Festival in general is the New Year’s celebrations that take place in Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand as well as Yunnan, China. It is called the ‘Water Festival’ by westerners because people pour water on one another as part of the cleansing ritual to welcome the new year. The act of pouring water is also a show of blessings and good wishes. It is believed that on this Water Festival, everything old must be discarded, or it will bring the owner bad luck.