Songkran Festival, Bangkok
During Songkran, most office buildings, banks as well as family-run shops and restaurants shut down completely, while big shopping malls usually remain open.
During Songkran,Thais throw water at each other forgood reason. The 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.
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Here's a quick explanation of the festival: Songkran is a three-day holiday in Thailand, April 13-15. Over the years, it has slowly evolved from the gentle pouring of water over the hands of friends and relatives to a crazy large scale water fight frenzy.
Depending on your budget, choose from modest water pistols (with protective umbrellas for close combat) to high powered water cannons with multiple shots
Once the sun goes down that's when the real party starts! This is not in a club, the speakers are blasting full volume on the streets of Silom!
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April 12 - 16, 2006
Celebrating Songkran Festival for the first time was quite funny and interesting. Better to be ready for the water-pouring so it is advised to wear shirt and shorts.
Don't be shock if someone will pour water on you and put some powder in your face.
Don't be angry...
Songkran is the Thai New Year's festival. It is celebrated on the first after the first new moon of April. Everything shuts down for the Songkran festival and then a country wide water fight emerges. Make sure that anything electronic is put in a plastic bag because you are going to get soaked. People roam the streets with bowls of water, water guns or even a garden hose, and drench each other and passersbys. Some even mix colored powder into the water. As a tourist, you are a target for sure. Khaosan Road is particularly crazy and is a must see for this time. The festival lasts officially for 3 days in the Bangkok area.
This tradition originated in the lustration ceremony, in which the Buddha images in the temples are cleaned. In many cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha statues from all of the wats in the city are paraded through the streets, so that people can throw water on them as they pass. The use of plaster is also very common having originated in the plaster used by monks to mark blessings.
Other traditional elements of the festival include young people visiting elders, and pouring small amounts of lustral water on the hands of their elders as a sign of respect. People carry handfuls of sand to their temple in order to make up for the dirt that they carry away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then piled into large, tiered sand castles and decorated with colorful flags. In general, Songkran is a time for cleaning and renewal. Many Thais take this opportunity to give their home a thorough cleaning.
Songkran is the Thai New Year festival. It happens in the first half of April and one of the features of it is that people throw water at everyone else or at passing cars. April 15 was the last day of Songkran when I was in Bangkok. The city had emptied out and many shops were closed. The Wat Phra Keow was an interesting place to be on that day as many worshippers flocked there - outnumbering the tourists and providing those foreigners interested with some authentic scenes. In 2004 people were combining their water with some sort of powder which left cars covered in white marks! Waterguns are a new aspect of all the fun.
(April 7-15, 2003 at Sanam Luang and citywide, Bangkok)
This traditional Thai New Year may be celebrated all over the city, but the main spectacles center around the old area of Bangkok near the Grand Palace, Rachadamneon Avenue and Khaosan Road. At Sanam Luang, the revered Phra Buddha Sihing image will be displayed and bathed by thousands of Buddhists, while, not so far away from Sanam Luang, in the town’s main backpacker haven, Khaosan Road, several thousands of locals and tourists have a blast in the city’s biggest water battle. During this festival, Rachadamneon Avenue’s charm will be enhanced by beautiful fountains along the avenue.
A Little Advice
1. If you get involved in the water splashing, remember that older people are exempt. It's not a great idea to splash policemen either.
2. If you decide to get into the splashing, approach people with respect. Don't get too carried away, or you may accidentally give offence.
3. Take it all in your stride. Maybe you didn't realise that you were going to be in Thailand at this time, and hadn't planned on getting soaked. Well. no amount of getting annoyed is going to change that -- it's their country and their most important festival and the Thai people are going to enjoy it. Put on your worst clothes (or buy some cheap ones) and get into it. You're on holiday -- forget everything, look, learn new things, and just have FUN. You might just find yourself feeling cleansed.
courtesy of: http://www.thailandgrandfestival.com/festival.asp?festID=7
I took the photo just this afternoon along the way to the park and they really put us some water even my little one:)
This event is over a few days in april the hotest and dryest month.......it is normally over a few days but once in Pattaya a few years ago it went on for 2 weeks........
Basically the whole country erupts into big water fights............you will wherever you are get wet in doors or outside...........don't bother changing into dry clothes you will just get wet again even battles rage while driving down the road and accident rates go up.
Its mad but fun and if you think it will annoy you after a while then miss this time of year or stay in your hotel room.................thats exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Almost at the end of the street of Kao San road during there Songklan festival, you will find a wide area used for locals and people alike offering their prayers. This stage has 4 big bells and people are lining up just to ring it. They will say a small prayer before doing it. Very interesting.
SONGKRAN - The traditional Thai New Year, also called the Water Splishing Festival, celebrated for 3 full days every year. This year's Songkran fall on Apr/13-15. Khao San Road, Bang Lamphu area is the high-spots in the city to experience the water-throwing activities between locals and tourists - of course, all in good fun!! People splashing water at one another by using water gun and putting powder on faces. Bars having live DJs playing all kinds of music, people simply dancing, throwing water on the streets, and touching each other's face with white powder.
The craziest time in Bangkok has to be Songkran, the Thai New Year. It is going on for three days. You will not escape water or white stuff (some kind of dough) on your face and everywhere else.
Especialy when you are white you will have to take a lof of water and dough. I would advise to buy a good weapon (big watergun) and just defend yourself as well as you can!
ABOUT THE THAI NEW YEAR
It is celebrated in April. It starts on April 12th and finish on April 19th, following the cities and their region. It can last 8 full days in some places!
The Thai New Year marks the beginning of the hot season. Thus, there is a tradition for water blessings. Young people will go to elders' houses to lightly pour some water on their body.
If the original way of celebrating is a very beautiful and respectful one, with the modern days, things have changed a lot and the Thai New Year is more than that.
From the first day to the last one, from morning to night, wherever you go, you will be thrown water out of recipients (glasses, bottles, buckets, jars, hoses. water pistols, and so on). Everything will do as soon as it is filled up with water.
Speaking about water: it can be crystal clear, mixed with colorants (then the liquid comes out green, red, yellow), cool or cold (ice being added up) or mixed with flour.
The Thai people are very imaginative, you will see by yourselves...
When you are going to celebrate the Thai New Year, you have to make yourself ready for a wet long day. It can be quite fun when you are actively participating to the festivities. When you are not, because for example you are working or you are too old, it can look like hell, and I mean that word (sorry for the ones who will disagree now).
The Thai New Year will add 500 more people on the dead list. People will drink more than usual and will cause mostly road accidents. People will visit a nearby hospital or clinic because of skin or eye allergies being the consequence of dirty water thrown on them.
I don't want to spoil your Thai New Year but as a resident and a witness to many bad accidents (where sometimes friends of mine were involved as victims), it is my duty to just let you know about a few facts that you may ignore.
Anyway, I wish a happy Songkran for the ones who will be there!
This stage has a buddha statue in it. People will start to sprinkle water to the statue as a mark of purification.