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  • Writer's pictureLinda De Angelis

Thailand's Songkran: a celebration of water & colour

Thailand is known as "the Land of Smiles" & has been one of the most hospitable places in all my travels. It is a vibrant country, full of beautiful customs & culture steeped in interesting history. Thai New Year, known as Songkran, is celebrated from 13-15 April & comes from the Sanskrit meaning to move or step forward. It embraces goodwill, love, compassion & thankfulness, where people come together to show appreciation, love & respect to family including ancestors & friends too.

Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand. Used with permission.

Songkran values society & brings the community together to enhance benevolence & unity. Songkran also celebrates the value of religion; people go to the temples offering food to monks & attend Buddhist sermons to bring luck & prosperity into the new year.

The most notable custom is the splashing of water! This fun festival activity originated from the spring-cleaning ritual of cleaning the images of Buddha. It was thought that if the “blessed water” used to clean the images was thrown & soaked on people, it would bring good fortune.

Photos: Tourism Authority of Thailand. Used with permission.

Songkran is celebrated all over the Kingdom of Thailand from the shimmering tropical water of the Anderman Sea, to the vibrant city of Bangkok. In the Central North of Lana, it is a melting pot of culture & craft from different ethnic groups. It’s easy to understand this “Land of Smiles” has such an eclectic New Year's festival, given that the Thai culture has influences from India, China, Cambodia, Malaysia & Persia.

If you are in Thailand during Songkran don’t be surprised if you have to dodge the water & coloured chalk, no one is spared! April is the hottest time of the year so being splashed by cool water can be a fun way to escape the heat & humidity. These days Thai's will walk the streets having fun “water fights” using buckets of water, water pistols or standing by the side of roads with a hose & soak passers-by. Don’t be surprised if you also get covered in chalk, a custom originating from the chalk used by monks to make blessings. This combination of water & colourful powder is very similar the Hindi spring celebrations of Holi that marks the spring harvest & certainly could have been the origin of Songkran.

Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand. Used with permission.

REFLECTION: I find it serendipitous to know Songkran & Easter ~ the most Holy festival in the Christian calendar, which I celebrate ~ fall at the same time this year. So even though these are different festivals & celebrations, we can all embrace the spirit of Songkran’s goodwill, love, compassion & thankfulness, maybe even a beautiful new start!


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Welcome to Destination Serendipity for inspired travel journeys. I’m Linda De Angelis and I have travelled all over the world as a professional travel advisor. Remember to sign up for my inspired travel blogs. Just click on the button below.

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