I am currently on a holiday trip at Chiang Mai for the Songkran Festival. Not only because it’s Songkran that this trip is special, it is also to celebrate my first year anniversary here in Thailand. I arrived in this friendly land last year with hesitant heart but God has been so great because the year has come by so quickly and here I am, embarking on a leisure trip with a light and joyful heart.
Anyways, let’s go back to the main topic which is the Songkran Festival. Today is the first day of this Thai festivity, and here in Chiang Mai and I believe, all around Thailand, the celebration is opened with a bang. Water splashes here, there and everywhere with locals and foreigners enjoying every bit of it regardless of age.
Here are some more bits of information about this celebration:
Thailand’s most celebrated festival is the Songkran Festival. It starts April 13 and lasts between 3 and 10 days depending on where you are in Thailand. The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit meaning the beginning of a new Solar Year, but nowadays Thailand celebrates the New Year on 31 December.
The Thai people celebrate this festival with water. Everyone gets soaking wet and since it is the hottest season of the year, the custom is quite refreshing. Songkran is a Public Spring Cleaning Day, supported by the religious belief that anything old and useless must be thrown away or it will bring bad luck to the owner.
During the afternoon of the 13th, Buddha images are bathed as part of the ceremony. Young people pour scented water into the hands of elders and parents as a mark of respect while seeking the blessing of the older people. In ancient days, old people were actually given a bath and clothed in new apparel presented by the young folks as a token of respect for the New Year.
Until recently Thailand was almost entirely an agricultural society and this has been a perfect time to take break from the business of earning a living. The rice harvest is in, and replanting has to await the coming of the rains.
It is an old belief that the Nagas or mythical serpents brought on rain by spouting water from the seas. The more they spouted, the more rain there would be. So, one might believe that the Songkran customs of throwing water is actually a rain-making idea, but it seems that the Thais don’t really bother about way they celebrate Songkran – they just do it for having a great time!
Source: Songkran Festival
My first day has not yet ended though and I must say that I already had a blast of it. Tonight, the next stop would be the street parties happening all around the town…and I just can’t wait to experience it myself.