Thailand Prepares for Songkran Festival After 3 Year Hiatus
After a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the city of Bangkok will organize a major event to celebrate this year’s 2023 Songkran festival, the Bangkok governor announced yesterday.
While Lan Khon Muang in front of City Hall in the Phra Nakhon district has been designated as the main venue for the capital’s water-splashing festivities, he said that each of Bangkok’s fifty district offices will also host their own events to celebrate the Thai New Year.
The highly revered Buddha image Phra Phuttha Sihing will be paraded on April 12 from Phutthai Sawan Throne Hall at the Bangkok National Museum to City Hall, where it will be on display for worship until April 14.
Other traditional ceremonies, such as almsgiving and Rot Nam Dam Hua ceremonies, in which water is poured over the hands of elderly relatives to seek their blessing for the coming year, will also be held in Lan Khon Muang, according to Mr. Chadchart.
The governor stated that Songkran celebrations will also be held near Klong Phadung Krung Kasem.
During the festival, the Metropolitan Police Bureau will be responsible for maintaining peace and order, and the sale of alcoholic beverages, smearing powder, high-pressure water guns, and inappropriate attire will be prohibited.
In related news, the cabinet agreed yesterday to promote authentic Songkran-related Thai traditions. Songkran is the Thai New Year water festival, held annually from 13-15 April; Thai New Year’s Day is April 13.
Songkran is a celebration that symbolizes kindness, love, empathy, and gratitude, during which water is used to cleanse and to pray for an abundant rainy season. Songkran means ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’ in Thai.
In April, the hottest month of the year, the entire country of Thailand celebrates Songkran. It is one of many Buddhist Festivals and National Holidays in Thailand.
We have chosen a variety of popular tourist destinations where you can experience Songkran and create unforgettable memories in both traditional and modern ways.
1. Khao San Road (Songkran Bangkok)
Khao San is the undisputed centre of modern Songkran celebrations in Bangkok. The backpacker district is closed off to traffic and has an electric carnival atmosphere. Thais and foreigners alike hold stations with oversized water guns, high-pressure hoses, and enormous coolers. Khao San is the place to experience crowds armed with water guns while listening to pulsating music from local establishments.
If you desire a more traditional Songkran celebration, Ayutthaya is an excellent option. People can be seen making merit at the temple by pouring water on the hands of the elderly in exchange for their blessings. With temples decorated in Songkran style, the ambiance is family-friendly. The city also enjoys its fair share of water games in which elephants spray people with water to ward off misfortune.
3. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
The largest Songkran celebrations are held in Chiang Mai, the northern capital, with the city extending the festivities for nearly a week. People in northern Thailand are also more likely to collect sand for transport to the local monastery.
This sand is used to replenish the monastery before being sculpted into stupa-shaped mounds and decorated with colorful, celebratory flags. This sand is symbolic of the dirt carried on their feet over the past year.
Songkran Festival in Chiang Rai is undoubtedly the most festive and celebrated event of the year in Thailand. Songkran marks the Thai New Year (Thai Lunar Calendar year) and is the biggest and most fun-filled time of the year.
4. Koh Samui, Surat Thani
Chaweng Beach is the epicentre of Songkran celebrations on Koh Samui, where Thai and foreign tourists share smiles while simultaneously dousing each other with water. In the meantime, the local community holds traditional ceremonies in which monks pray for the residents’ good fortune. Young children also present wreaths to elderly community members to request blessings.
Activities typical of the Songkran Festival
People frequently perform spring cleaning in their homes, temples, schools, and workplaces to welcome the New Year with cleanliness that symbolizes a new beginning. Some earn merit by presenting monks with alms in memory of deceased ancestors, while the monk imparts some words of wisdom.
In addition, it is common for birds and fish to be returned to their natural habitats as part of the merit-making activities.
To receive New Year’s blessings, Buddha images and monks are sprinkled with water. Constructing sand pagodas on the grounds of the temple. Bringing sand to the temple is considered a merit because the temple can use the sand for construction or restoration.
Pouring water over elderly family members or members of the community to demonstrate respect and gratitude and to ask for their blessing.
Among the most well-known New Year’s traditions are water fights with clean or scented water. Before throwing water at someone, it is prudent to ask permission in case they do not wish to get wet!
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