Songkran is a famous Thailand festival. An essential event on the Buddhist calendar, by what’s new for 2021?
Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. An essential event on the Buddhist calendar, it marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’. Best of all, it is celebrated with water!
Appreciation of family is an important aspect of the festival, with many of the local Thai population making their way to their hometowns to spend time with family. Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran, where water is poured on Buddha images and Buddhist monks’ hands as a mark of respect.
The festival takes place every April of each year from 13-15th in most provinces; however, some extend the celebration longer and can last up to a week. Traditionally, water is used to cleanse bad things and is also used as a symbol of fertility. However, it’s now known as the worlds biggest water fight; if you’re visiting Thailand during this period, be prepared to get very wet! Well, until now.
Songkran was cancelled for the first time in 2020 due to pandemic lockdowns and safety concerns. 2021 also comes with new guidelines as festivities are hampered down to focus more on traditional aspects and away from water fights. Religious practices and ceremonies include sprinkling water on Buddha statues and pouring water onto the elderly’s palms to ask for their blessings are the main focus this year, with water splashing, concerts, or any activities involving close contact between people; such as, powder smearing and foam parties are banned.
We can all agree this is a safe move for years to come, not only for the visitors’ safety but also for focusing the festival more on tradition, culture and spending time with family.