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Why do Thais splash water on Songkran?

Songkran is the biggest and most famous festival of the land of golden pagodas, attracting millions of visitors every year with water splashing activities.

If Vietnam has a Lunar New Year, Thai people have a Songkran festival, which takes place from April 13 to 15. This New Year’s time is calculated according to the Buddhist calendar, and Thai people take the Buddha’s birthday as the first day of the new year.

The name Songkran is believed to be an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “to step forward”, “to move forward”. The festival has been celebrated for centuries, with the meaning of expressing goodwill, love, kindness, and gratitude.

To prepare for Tet, Thai people spend two days. The first day is called Wan Sungkham Long – the day people clean their houses and mean to get rid of the old and bad things (April 12). Next is Wan Nao, the day used to prepare food in the upcoming holidays (April 13). Wan Payawan is the first day of the new year, also known as the main festival, taking place on April 14. The last day is Wan Parg Bpee, for praying, blessing the elderly, remembering ancestors and sprinkling sacred water.

This year, the Thai government decided to organize a quiet Songkran, without water splashing activities to limit the increase of infections.  Photo: Agoda

On the occasion of Songkran, Thai people take sacred water from the temple and pour it into the hands of the elderly to bless and show respect. Image: Agoda

April 14 is the start of the water festival. Early in the morning, people bring fresh flowers and offerings to the temple, listen to sutras, wait in line for monks holding branches and water scales to bless, Bathing Buddha… Then, they will build many sand temples in the temple, plant flags and flowers to celebrate the event. Bringing sand into the temple grounds is considered meritorious, because the sand will be used to build or restore the temple. Many people even release birds and fish… to spread good things.

The indispensable thing in the festival is water, which can wash away the old year so that Thai people prepare to welcome the new year. When the ceremony at the temple ends, people pour into the main street, using pumps, buckets, spray guns… or anything that can splash water on each other. They believe that water will purify all negativity and bring blessings. The more wet people enter Songkran, the luckier they are.

Taboos in the festival are throwing dirty water, cold water, dangerous mixtures such as paints, dyes… on others; throw water at people driving; use a large pressure pump to spray water; harassing women in crowded places; Drunk in public…

Chiang Mai, the city located in the north of the country, is known for hosting the largest Songkran. Some “follow-up” events last up to six days. Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand is also an equally famous place, attracting tens of thousands of visitors before the pandemic.

Songkran was one of the occasions that attracted a large number of international visitors before the epidemic.  Photo: Find thai property

Songkran is one of the occasions that attracts a large number of international visitors. Image: Find Thai Property

Before Covid-19, Songkran was the occasion when Thailand welcomed the most international visitors. The area around the festival venue is always full. On the street, you will see a large number of people pouring into the street with all ages, vibrant music everywhere. This year, because of the epidemic situation, the government came up with a plan Limit recreational activities entertainment, attracting crowds like splashing water.

Mr. Minh (According to TAT)

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