It is the time of year when Thai’s from all over the world return to their families, their homes and villages to pay respect to their elders. And to join the kids celebrating Thailands Water Festival.
Songkran is the New Year’s festival. New Year’s Day is 13 April every year, but the official holiday period includes 14–15 April as well. And unofficially stretches through to the following weekend. The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti which literally means “astrological passage”, transformation or change.
Mornings begin with visiting the local temple and offering food to the monks is commonly practiced. Later in the day pouring water on Buddha statues represents a way of purification, washing away the past.
It is a festival of unity.
People who have moved to other countries usually return home to their loved ones and elders and the younger members of the family show respect by pouring fragrant water over the palms of elders’ hands. Paying reverence to ancestors is also an important part of Songkran tradition.
Main streets in the towns and villages are closed to traffic to allow both young and old celebrate by splashing water on each other and engaging in fierce water battles. Water barrels are placed on virtually every road and traffic runs the gauntlet of laughing noisy kids armed to the teeth with an impressive array of water guns, hosepipes and fragrant paste.
Gunsmithing skills are also an essential service.