Thailand gears up for traditional New Year Songkran Festival

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) marks an extended celebration of the Thai Lunar Calendar, the New Year Songkran Festival, with unique activities and festivities that pay tribute to the role of water in Thai culture and society. Normally the celebration lasts for three days from April 13 to 15, but this year there will be an extended break as April 16 and 17 fall on a weekend.

Filipino tourists heading to Thailand for Songkran usually have one goal in mind – joining the water splashing activities at the country’s key locales. Here are some of the published locations and schedule for this year’s celebration.

Khao San Road, Bangkok, 13-15 April 2016, 10.00-23.00 hrs.
Silom Road, Bangkok, 13-15 April 2016, 10.00-00.00 hrs.
Around the City Moat, Chiang Mai, 11-16 April 2016, 09.00-22.00 hrs.
Pattaya (North, Central and South Beach), Lan Bodhi Park Na Kluea and Chon Buri, 11-20 April 2016, 09.00-00.00 hrs.
Khao Nieo Road, Khon Kaen, 13-15 April 2016, 10.00-20.30 hrs.
Patong Beach, Phuket, 12-13 April 2016, 10.00-22.00 hrs.
Hat Yai Midnight Songkran at Nipat Uthit 3 Road, Sanehanusorn Road and Wat Mahatta, 11-15 April 2016, 10.00-23.00 hrs.
Songkran Ko Samui (Chaweng Beach), 13 April 2016, 08.00 – 20.00 hrs.

Also, don’t miss The ‘Songkran Splendours: The Procession of Three Kingdoms’ official opening of 2016 Songkran celebrations to be held at the main stage of the Maha Jetsadabodin Royal Pavilion in Bangkok’s old quarters or Rattanakosin Island on April 10 at 15.00-18.00 Hrs. 

Tips to get the most out of Songkran

In the morning, 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 bathe 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. This is a unique ritual which for centuries has celebrated the significance of water in Thai culture and society as a symbol of purity, prosperity and happiness.

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.

Water used to splash on others should be clean or mixed with Thai traditional fragrances. Avoid using dirty water, cold or iced water on others. Also, do not use water mixed with sweet basil seeds, saku seed or any colours as they can stain clothes and cause irritation.

Avoid throwing water aggressively or using high-pressure water guns or hoses.

Wear appropriate clothing and waterproof your gadgets.

Photo credit: Ian Felix Alquiros

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Thailand gears up for traditional New Year Songkran Festival

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