Songkran Festival in Thailand
The Thai new year is called the Songkran Festival and Thailand's new year's day falls on the 13th of April every year. The Songkran festival is probably one of the oldest celebrations in Thailand. Songkran comes from an old Sanskrit word meaning 'Beginning of the Solar Year'.
Songkran is on the summer solstice & is called many names 'The Beginning of the Lunar Year', 'The Start of the Returns of the Rains' and 'Thai New Year'. Sometimes Songkran is called the 'Home Coming Day', as thai people travel long distances to be with their families (not a good time of year to try and book a seat on a plane or bus).
Leading up to the festival Thais clean their houses thoroughly. This is believed to clean away any bad luck from the previous year and make room for the good luck from the new year to come.
On Songkran day Thai people make merit by offering food to the monks. Children show their respect to elders and ask for blessings by pouring water into the hands of their parents and older relatives and then giving them towels and new clothes.
In the afternoon of Songkran day there is a bathing ceremony of Buddha images. The bathing of images is a traditional and formal ritual and is seen as a New Year purification. This customarily marks the beginning of the most popular part of Songkran, when people throw water.
In the streets, people splash and throw water on each other. Songkran usually lasts for 3 days, but in the northern regions of Thailand the festival can last up to 10 days.
Click here to see more photos of the Songkran Festival at Surin Beach