Songkran - Welcoming the New Year in Style
by Naveen Marasinghe
Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year festival that is
celebrated during the middle of April. The name Songkran is
actually derived from Sanskrit and means astrological passage. As
the name it self implies the Thai New Year is celebrated when the
sun passes through a certain Zodiac sign.
The Thai New Year is also known as the "Water Festival", because it
is common practice for thousands of locals to gather in certain
areas of the city and sprinkle water on Buddha statues while also
drenching passersby. Though this was not always the main activity
of the festival, rather it was more centered upon paying respects
to relatives, parents and religious teachers, today many Thai's
roam around the streets armed with water guns and contains some eve
n post themselves at the corner of the street with a garden hose
and soak neighbors and other random passersby.
The water throwing is believed have originated from a traditional
form of greeting where it was considered respectful for a small
amount of water to be sprinkled on a visitor's shoulder. A number
of Thais also visit Buddhist temples or Wats to engage in pious
religious observances. A number of events connected to Songkran are
usually organized in Bangkok.
Among them the official Songkran rituals are performed at the Grand
Palace, a sacred Buddha statue is brought out and paraded around
the streets in a colorful procession. San stupas are made and
topped off with colorful flags and flowers; these are usually seen
in temples. An annual "Songkran Queen" beauty pageant is also held
in Bangkok, accompanied by a colorful parade.
Traditional delicacies made especially for the season are usually
served to guests during this period, many Bangkok hotels,
restaurants and eateries also sell these delicious dishes to their
consumers. Bangkok's numerous bars and clubs also join in the
festivities by hosting special parties for locals and tourists
during this period. Most of these parties feature popular local and
international artists and great DJ's, come prepared to get drenched
at these water themed parties.
Tourists staying in Bangkok during the Songkran can opt to say at a
Bangkok serviced apartment such as the Royal President.
About the author: Naveen Marasinghe is an Online Marketing
Executive at eMarketingEye which is a search engine marketing
company that offers integrated Internet marketing services and
specializes in hotel Internet marketing industry