You’ve never really celebrated a New Year until you’ve experienced a Buddhist New Year; it’s completely unique. Held during one of Thailand’s hottest months, April sees locals and tourists galore, spraying each other with hoses, pouring buckets of water overhead, visiting local temples and offering food to the Buddhist monks. And of all the Buddhist festivals, the most memorable New Year celebration is Songkran.
The water-bombing at Songkran isn’t just about providing welcome relief from the heat, it has deeper symbolic meaning, too. Songkran, or the Thailand New Year, represents purification and starting afresh, so what better way to symbolise that than getting soaked in water. Initially, Songkran was about getting sprinkled with a little bit of water, but over the years, water bombs, hoses and buckets have been introduced to the festivities. If you do happen to visit during Songkran, remember not to wet monks, the elderly or pregnant women!
During Thai New Year, many Thais spend a lot of time doing a big ‘spring clean’ of their houses as part of the spiritual cleansing process. Buddha statues get an annual spring clean, too. Formal processions are common during Songkran with Buddhas carried down the street.
Thailand loves a good celebration and their New Year festivals are some of the best times to visit. And there aren’t many countries that celebrate three New Years! Not only is Songkran celebrated in Thailand, so is Chinese New Year and the traditional December 31st New Year.
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