Festivals and celebrations

Songkran, the Thai New Year and its water battles

Songkran is the Thai name for the Buddhist New Year’s Eve celebration theravāda, one of the most important holidays for Thai people.

Songkran date or Thai New Year 2020

The next ceremonies, water battles, and New Year’s celebrations will take place from April 13 to 16, 2020, but depending on the city, the dates may vary.

The exact date of the New Year is always dependent on the lunar cycle.

It also corresponds to the hottest period of the dry season.

Songkran, a family celebration

This celebration marks the first day of the year of the lunar calendar, in Thailand, we celebrate the three new years, the international, the Chinese New Year, and Songkran which is the most important.

This is the time of year when Thai people who work far from home return to their families.

It is a time of reunion, family, friends, and renewal when people clean their homes and throw away their old clothes.

Tradition has it that Buddhists show respect for their elders, monks and Buddha statues by pouring them a little fragrant water.

Songkran Act of respect towards monks
Act of respect towards monks
Songkran Act of respect for seniors
Songkran Act of respect for seniors

Basically there was just this story of pouring water on relatives and friends, to purify oneself and keep bad luck away.

But public demonstrations have evolved and today the festival has become a pretext for incredible water battles in the streets of cities and villages across the country.

Songkran and its water battles

The country is turning into a battlefield, bands are forming on the sidewalks and waiting to water passers-by and cars.

Water battle in Chiang Mai songkran
Songkran: Water battle in Chiang Mai

On the roads, pick-ups loaded with water cans, which sometimes come from the surrounding villages, do the same and everyone sprays each other with joy and good humor.

At Pattaya, the presence of a crowd of tourists and the arrival of a multitude of inhabitants of Bangkok makes the celebration take on a crazy and often excessive turn, at Chiang Mai the celebration lasts 5 days instead of 3 as in the rest of the country.

Get out covered!

During the three days of the celebrations, it is difficult to move around the streets without being sprayed copiously several times.

During this period, consider buying plastic bags to protect your papers and electronic items, you may get watered!

You will find protection easily, in many stores.

See also: Do’s and don’ts for Songkran 2020, the Thai New Year

Thai New Year road accidents

Each year, the Buddhist New Year sees the largest annual population movement in Southeast Asia.

It is marked by many traffic accidents due to impaired driving or water jets that cause motorcyclists to lose control of their machines.

Extreme caution should be exercised on the road during this period.

There is also an increasing number of police checks to arrest impaired drivers.

Songkran videos

The traditional song of Songkran


Songkran in Chiang Mai

To give you an idea of the crazy atmosphere during the Songkran festival.

Songkran in Bangkok

See also:

Do’s and don’ts at Songkran, Thai New Year

Holidays and festivals in Thailand, important dates

References: wikipedia.org; Video: Songkran in Chiang Mai: Han Thomas; Photos: Songkran festival: Takeaway; Tuktuk in Chiangmai, Songkran: Takeaway; Songkran in Wat Kungthapao: Tevaprapas Makklay; Songkran in Wat Kungthapao 2: Tevaprapas Makklay


Settled in Thailand since a few years (with trips to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia), I love this country and its inhabitants, the real country of Smiles! Sorry for any translation errors that may occur. Feel free to mention them in the comments, I will correct them. Thank you.

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