Songkran Day Essay


 Songkran Festival / 123rf

When is Songkran Festival?

How long until Songkran?
This holiday next takes place in 33 Days.
Dates of Songkran
YearWeekdayDate
2019Saturday
2018Friday
2017Thursday
2016Wednesday
Duration
3 Days
Summary
The Songkran festival is the traditional Thai New Year's Day and is celebrated from April 13 to April 15

The Songkran festival is the traditional Thai New Year's Day and is celebrated from 13 April to 15 April.

Additional public holidays may be declared by the government depending on which days of the week the days of Songkran fall on.

History of Songkran Festival

The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit language and means the passage of the sun from one sign of the Zodiac to another. That means there are twelve Songkrans each year, but the significance of this Songkran (sometimes called Major Songkran to distinguish it from the others) is when the sun enters the sign of Aries the Ram. The particular event was also closely related to the Vernal Equinox.

Celebrating New Year at the time of the Vernal Equinox was very common in the past. The Songkran celebration is similar to those of the Indian Holi Festival, the Chinese Ching Ming, and the Christian Festival of Easter. Indeed April Fool's Day probably originated as mocking those who didn't accept the switch of New Year from April to January in France in the Sixteenth Century.

Did you know?

In ancient times, the dates of Songkran and the Vernal Equinox would have been closer, but they have shifted due to an effect called procession, where the Earth wobbles on its axis over a 25,000 year period.

The date was originally set by astrological calculations, but it is now fixed on 13 April. The festival may be extended if some of the celebrations fall over a weekend.

In Thailand, New Year is now officially celebrated on January 1, in line with almost all other countries. Songkran was the official New Year until 1888, when it was switched to a fixed date of 1 April. It wasn't until 1940, that this date was then shifted to 1 January.

Making a splash - celebrating Songkran

The most famous aspect of the Songkran celebrations is the throwing of water. Indeed, Songkran is often known as the Thai Water Festival. The custom originates from spring cleaning aspect of Songkran. Part of the ritual was the cleaning of images of Buddha. Using the 'blessed' water that cleaned the images to soak other people is seen as a way of paying respect and bring good fortune.

It also doesn't hurt that April is the hottest part of the year in Thailand, so being soaked is a refreshing escape from the heat and humidity.

Nowadays Thais will walk the streets having 'water fights' using containers of water or water guns, or stand at the side of roads with a hose and soak any one who passes by.

You may also get covered in chalk, a custom originating from the chalk used by monks to mark blessings. This combination of water and powder is almost identical to the celebrations of Holi, and indeed, it maybe that the customs originated in India as certainly Songkran is celebrated more widely and longer in the Northern part of Thailand.

Even more interesting is that the custom of water fights pops up in a distant place at the same time of year. Dyngus Day is celebrated on Easter Monday in Poland, and on the Monday the custom is that boys get to soak girls with water, but on the Tuesday, the girls get to throw crockery at the boys - again the water and powder combination.

As mentioned, Songkran is a Spring Cleaning Day, both physically and spiritually. On the physical side, in addition to cleaning other customs are that anything old and useless must be thrown away or else it will bring bad luck to the owner. On the spiritual side, some people make New Year resolutions.

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The Songkran Festival: Celebrating the Thai New Year

Emma Patti Harris0 CommentWorldBangkok, Songkran water festival, Thai New Year, Thailand

22 Photos

The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival.

Thai locals and foreigners take part in a city-wide water fight on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
Thai beauty contestants ride bicycles down the street during a Songkran parade on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
Thai locals and foreigners take part in a city-wide water fight on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)

Thai locals and foreigners take part in a city-wide water fight on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
Thai locals and foreigners take part in a city-wide water fight on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
Large waterguns are sold from stalls all over the city during the Songkran festival on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)

Thai locals and foreigners take part in a city-wide water fight on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
Thai locals and foreigners take part in a city-wide water fight on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
Thai performers take part in a Songkran parade on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)

Thai locals and foreigners take part in a city-wide water fight on April 13, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Songkran festival, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is celebrated each year from April 13 to 15. The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
Revelers take part in water fights as they celebrate the Thai traditional New Year in a water festival known as Songkran, at Silom road in Bangkok on April 13, 2015. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)
Revelers take part in water fights as they celebrate the Thai traditional New Year in a water festival known as Songkran, at Silom road in Bangkok on April 13, 2015. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

Revelers take part in water fights as they celebrate the Thai traditional New Year in a water festival known as Songkran, at Silom road in Bangkok on April 13, 2015. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)
Revelers take part in water fights as they celebrate the Thai traditional New Year in a water festival known as Songkran, at Silom road in Bangkok on April 13, 2015. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)
Revelers are covered with foam as they celebrate the Thai traditional New Year in a water festival known as Songkran, at Silom road in Bangkok on April 13, 2015. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

Revelers splash water on each other as they celebrate the Thai traditional New Year in a water festival known as Songkran in Bangkok on April 13, 2015. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)
Revelers take part in water fights as they celebrate the Thai traditional New Year in a water festival known as Songkran, at Silom road in Bangkok on April 13, 2015. (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)
A boy reacts as a bucket of water is splashed on him during the Songkran water festival to celebrate Thai New Year in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A tourist tries to escape as water is fired at him during the Songkran festival to celebrate the Thai New Year on Samui Island in Surat Thani province, Thailand, Monday, April 13, 2015. The Songkran festival, also known as the Thai New Year or Thailand Water Festival, was originally celebrated as a way for the Thai people to sprinkle water on their family members and elders for good fortune and pay their respects to images of the beloved Buddha. Today, the festival has transitioned into three days of water play fun, splashing locals and visitors alike with buckets of water, water hoses and super soakers as they gather in the streets. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
People riding on a motorbike react as a boy splashes water on them during traditional Thai New Year celebrations or Songkran water festival in Bangkok Monday, April 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
People on the back of a truck react as a bucket of water is thrown on them during a traditional Thai New Year celebrations or Songkran water festival in Bangkok Monday, April 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A Thai woman splashes water on people on the back of a truck during the Songkran water festival to celebrate Thai New Year in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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