For those mourning the thought that they have to wait another 9 months to ring in the New Year, prepare yourself for the beauty and insanity of Songkran, or the traditional Thai New Year. Held each April, the official days of celebration are the 13th through 15th, though in many areas of Thailand, celebrations continue for a full week!
Unlike the variety of festivities that take place around the world on December 31st, Songkran has one unifying feature: Water!
First, some the traditional aspects of the water festival — Buddhists observing the traditions of Songkran gently cleanse Buddha images at monasteries by pouring water mixed with a Thai fragrance over them. It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. The actual throwing of water began as a way to show respect, by taking the water used to pour over the Buddhas and gently pouring this blessed water on the shoulders of one's elders and family to give good fortune. While Thailand officially now observes the January 1st New Year, the Thai Lunar calendar, which recognizes the Buddhist era, is also used. This year, 2013, is 2556 B.E.
And then there is the evolution of the holiday, into the world's largest water fight! All over Thailand, people young and old, Thais and foreigners alike, pick up their weapon of choice (buckets, water guns, water balloons…everything goes!) and get into the celebratory spirit. April is Thailand's hottest month, and there is no better way to cool off than just stay water-soaked for a week.
There is generally no escape from Songkran, but then again, why would you want to? Take a look for yourself with this video of Patong's Songkran celebrations, just steps away from BYD Lofts.