Songkran is the traditional New Year’s day in Thailand. In Thai culture, Songkran initially was celebrated by dousing water over the shoulders. It is considered a blessing and something many Thai will do to you. Nowadays Songkran is famous for it’s celebration and is just one big water party. Everywhere you go you will see people wishing each other Happy New year and drenching each other with water, especially in the busier (and tourist) areas. You will also see people smearing each other with powder which is also part of the celebrations. Those celebrations may seem like a funny way to celebrate New Year but it is a tradition that originally began in Thai temples.
More than just waterfights
During the Thai new year families visit their local temple to make merit and to their grandparents in order to receive blessings. They do this by sprinkling water over the Buddha statues. This water is then collected and people can sprinkle it over themselves as a New Year’s blessing. At temples you might also see them building sand pagodas in the temple grounds.
The powder during Songkran also has a religious meaning. When a monk blesses someone (or something) he marks that person or object with powder.
Songkran on our bicycle tours
Songkran at the Co van Kessel office
However Songkran being a national holiday we continue operating our tours as usual. Thai people will celebrate the New Year with their whole family. Bangkok will be a little more quiet as locals will return back to their families outside the city. The locals who stay in Bangkok will however celebrate the Thai New Year as all others. In Thai culture They like to start the new year with a blessing from a foreigner so be prepared to get wet from some ‘holy water’.
Want to get blessed by a local for the Thai New year? Join our bike tours on on of these special days!