Songkran: Thai New Year

Happy New Year and welcome to year 2558! Every year Thailand celebrates its new year from April 13-15 by closing all government offices so everyone can go home to their families, pay respect to their elders, and “len nam,” or throw water. Songkran, a word from sanskrit signifying the entry of the sun into a new zodiac, is specifically used to represent the passing into the sign of Aries. It has been compared to the Indian Holi Festival, Chinese Ching Ming, and the Christian Easter.

Today, for many, Songkran has turned into a big party that is a 3 day water fight. Everywhere you go people are staked out on the side of the street armed with water guns, buckets of water, and hose to spray the passerbys. Many people ride in the back of trucks and throw water on everyone they pass by. People also celebrate by smearing powder on one another. Since April is the hottest month in Thailand everyone welcomes and looks forward for the country wide water fight. Songkran is also a time to show respect to elders through the “rot nam” ceremony, where water is poured down their hands. It is a time for rejuvination and cleansing, both physically and spiritually. This year I went with my Thai family to visit my Thai grandma's house. We paid respect to my Mae's father who had passed away, honored the elders of the family, and enjoyed the special time being together.

 

Songkran is a time of cleansing and rejuvenation. My family went to the local Wat to pay respect and give merit to their deceased father.

 

Most Thai's return home for Songkran and show respect to their elders by pouring scented water over their hands. Here one of my Mae's sisters is wishing her mother and aunt good health and luck in the new year.

 

Rot nam ceremony with more of the family.

 

Many people wear colorful floral shirts during Songrkan.

 

A monk splashing scented water on everyone.

 

Trucks drive around with Buddha statues so everyone can take part in giving merit and cleanse the statues.

 

Pouring water, scented with flowers, over the Buddha.

 

Children dressed in traditional Thai clothing.

 

People lining the streets spraying cars, motorcycles, and whoever passes by with water.

 

Many people stake out a place for the whole day to soak passerbys and cover them in powder.

 

One of the many children riding around in trucks armed with a squirt gun.

 

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