This coming weekend we’re getting ready to celebrate Songkran, in the centre of Sydney at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour. So what exactly is Songkran? Click here to find out…
Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. An important event on the Buddhist calendar, Songkran celebrates the Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’.
This water festival is all about cleaning, purification, and fresh starts. Houses are cleaned, Buddha statues are gently washed with scented water, and elders are honored by pouring water respectfully over their hands.
Not only is it the largest celebration in Thailand, it’s arguably the largest water fight in the world; participating in Songkran is a great way to escape the scorching temperatures in April — the hottest month of the year.
Thais celebrate Songkran by throwing water at others. The real meaning behind the splashes is to symbolically wash off all misfortunes in the past year, thus welcoming the new year with a fresh new start.
Water is now an important element of Songkran – if you’re visiting Thailand during this period don’t be surprised if you get splashed. Crowds of people roam around throwing buckets of water, using water pistols and just generally soaking anyone in the vicinity.
Appreciation of family is another important aspect of the festival, with many Thai people making their way to their hometowns to spend time with older relatives. Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran where water is poured on Buddha images and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a mark of respect.
Where should you go to enjoy Songkran?
For those looking for traditional Songkran celebrations, check out Chiang Mai province in the North, Ayutthaya province which is just an hour drive from Bangkok, Phra Pra Daeng District in Samut Prakan province which is also not far from Bangkok and Khao Niao Road in Khon Kaen province in the North East.
For a bit of fun, check out Khao San Road and Silom Road in Bangkok and Pattaya City in Chon Buri province. (NB Pattaya Songkran Celebration is held one week after the official Songkran Festival.)
When can you join in the fun?
Songkran is officially observed between the 13th and 15th of April (three days national holiday) every year, but this year in Sydney, we’re celebrating early, this weekend on the 14th and 15th March.