Make a big splash with Songkran 2019 - Reuters News Agency

Make a big splash with Songkran 2019

Dive into Songkran 2019 and look out for the best festival moments in Connect

By Clare Cavanagh | Apr 11, 2019

While the rich culture of Thailand provides an exciting array of events every year, the Songkran festival is not to be missed. Taking place from 13th-15th April, Songkran celebrates the start of the traditional Thai New Year. It was also recognized as the biggest water gun fight internationally when it set a world record with 3,500 people taking part in Bangkok, 2011. Songkran has become a gathering of fun and joviality within communities while remaining respectful to its historical and spiritual heritage.

The water festival initially followed an historic ritual called Song Nam Phra, a ceremony where communities gather in local temples to pour scented water on sacred Buddha statues. It is believed that the holy water is spiritually cleansing and was used to bless senior family members and village elders. Similar to other new year celebrations, good luck and future resolutions are wished upon entering into the new season.

Songkran is derived from the word ‘saṃkrānti’, the literal translation for which is ‘astrological passage’, meaning ‘change’, ‘movement’, ‘passing’ and ‘approaching’. It signifies the shift into a new year with intentions and promises of transformation in our personal and working lives.

People from all over the world travel to take part in this event and it is impossible to remain dry! Buddhist monks are respectfully exempt from the soaking – an important rule for visitors to observe.

Songkran continues to gain popularity outside of Thailand, even growing tourism revenue in South East Asia. This year the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects 2.3 million people, both local and foreign visitors, to travel, attend and celebrate in union.

View a selection of Songkran pictures in the gallery below: