(This is a sponsored post, chosen by me because how freaking cool is this festival?)
When it comes to New Year’s celebrations in Australia, it’s all about fireworks, champagne and kisses at midnight. But this year, we invite you to consider a new way to ring in the “New Year” – by getting wet at the Songkran water festival.
The Thai New Year
The Thai New Year is actually celebrated in mid-April, from the 13th to the 15th, in line with many other New Year’s celebrations across Southeast Asia. While the date was once determined astrologically, today it is fixed into the standard calendar with public holidays being substituted the following week should the date fall on the weekend. The Water Festival is the most recognised part of the New Year festivities with individual cities all hosting their own water soaked events.
How to take part in the Songkran
Getting a real dose of Songkran starts with booking cheap flights to Thailand during the New Year – although be warned that travel to the area during this time will be popular, so best book in early. While most major Thai cities will have some variation of Songkran, the largest water party takes place at Chiang-Mai. Meanwhile, Songkran celebrations are also common in parts of Burma, Cambodia and Laos.
1. On the eve of Songkran (12 April), Thais will clean their houses from top to bottom in preparation for the New Year. Songkran is about rebirth and renewal, so it’s important to start your year with a clean slate.
2. On the morning of, residents will head to the Buddhist monasteries in their finest clothes to pay homage to the monks and pray.
3. Through the day, Buddha statues, both in the monasteries and at home, are bathed and cleansed in hopes that Buddha will bring good luck and prosperity in the New Year.
4. Prepare to get wet as the water dousing begins. Traditionally, the water that had been used to cleanse the Buddhas was the collected to douse residents in order to pass on good fortune. Today, water of all types is used to drench your family, friends, neighbours and passers-by.
5. Use buckets, water pistols, hoses – anything you can get your hands on that will hold water. Flatbed bucket trucks roam the streets, and revellers are loaded in the back, buckets in hand. Ice cold water may sting at first, but it can offer welcome relief from the heat. Remember, anyone on the streets is fair game – so dress yourself, and your electronics, for the occasion!
6. It’s not all about the water. Another popular attraction that has come out of Songkran celebrations are the beauty pageants along with plenty of traditional dances and performances.
No matter where in Thailand you’re headed in April, Songkran is bound to be an unforgettable experience. Book cheap flights to Bangkok and get ready for a good dousing of fun!