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Celebrating Songkran: Thailand's Water Festival

My husband and I first went to Thailand on our honeymoon, long before we ever thought of living in Asia. It was April and I distinctly remember how gosh darn hot it was in Thailand that time of year. So it's no surprise that amidst the scorching heat of April, a festival emerges like no other. Streets transform into bustling water arenas, laughter fills the air, and spirits soar high with joy. Welcome to Songkran – Thailand’s renowned Water Festival. But what's it all about? Why the heck are people dousing each other with water?



The Tradition

Songkran marks the Thai New Year, celebrated annually from April 13 to 15. Rooted deeply in Thai culture, it signifies the washing away of misfortunes and welcoming the New Year with fresh beginnings. Traditionally, water was poured gently over elders' hands as a sign of respect and to receive blessings. However, as time evolved, so did the festivities.


The Festivities

What began as a serene tradition has morphed into one of the world’s largest water fights. Picture this: people armed with water guns, buckets, and hoses, roaming the streets, ready to drench anyone in sight – locals, tourists, and even stray passersby. It’s a harmonious chaos where everyone is fair game, and no one is spared from the refreshing splashes of water.


Symbolism

Beyond the water battles lies a deeper meaning. Water, in Thai culture, is symbolic of purification, renewal, and prosperity. During Songkran, this symbolism is embraced wholeheartedly. The act of splashing water signifies the washing away of past sins and troubles, paving the way for a brighter future. It’s a time to cleanse the spirit and rejuvenate the soul.



Community Spirit

What truly sets Songkran apart is its spirit of inclusivity and friendship. Regardless of age, gender, or nationality, everyone is welcome to join in the festivities. Streets become a melting pot of cultures, as locals and tourists alike come together to celebrate amidst the sea of water and laughter.


The Food

No festival is complete without tantalizing treats, and Songkran is no exception. Street vendors line the roads, offering an array of mouthwatering delicacies – from traditional Thai dishes to sweet treats like mango sticky rice and coconut ice cream. Yum!


Preservation of Tradition

While the festival has morphed into a giant water fight, the essence of the holiday remains deeply rooted in tradition. In the middle of all the water fights and revelry, traditional rituals such as visiting temples, making offerings to monks, and pouring scented water over Buddha statues are still observed by many. It’s a harmonious blend of old and new, preserving the rich tapestry of Thai culture for generations to come.


Songkran in Singapore

The Royal Thai Embassy has a big event in March, but don't worry, there are still celebrations to catch.


  • Wild Wild Wet has all sorts of special happenings like elephant-themed inflatable and dance parties throughout the month of April.

  • Thai Supermarket will have some festivities over the two days including colourful dance performances, Muay Thai displays, and Thai Khim music showcases. You can even pick up skills like Thai massage techniques and fruit carving in a series of workshops arranged by Thai Association Singapore and Tourism Authority Thailand. And of course, delicious food!


If you can't make these events, no worries. You can still get into the spirit of things by treating yourself to some yummy Thai food and a water fight!





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