Songkran, the much-loved and much-anticipated yearly event, is more than about water-fights and fun in the sun. The Thai New Year traditions stretch back hundreds of years, and in a country as large and diverse as Thailand, how the festival is celebrated differs from province to province – each community having their own unique centuries-old traditions.
Top tips to get the most out of Songkran:
In the morning, make merit and listen to temple sermons to understand and benefit from the spiritual side of the festival. Remember that during the New Year festival, the temple activities are the most important aspects of the celebration.
To purify or bath the Buddha or other statues, water should not be poured directly onto the head of the relic, rather on other parts of the statue’s torso.
The custom of pouring water onto the hand of elders’ (people above 60 years old), is to show respect and seek their New Year blessings. This custom is called the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual.
Water used to splash on others should be clean or mixed with Thai traditional fragrances. Avoid throwing water aggressively or using high-pressure water guns or hoses. Avoid throwing water with ice.
Women should be wary of wearing tight clothes or ones that are light in colour and/or made of thin fabric. When wet, such garments can become quite revealing, raising the risk of sexual harassment.