The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year's Day from 13 to 15 April. The pouring of water is symbolic of the cleansing of the spirit, mind and body. The water is also supposed to wash away bad luck - so consider yourself blessed if you get drenched! Happily, Songkran falls during the hottest time of the year and the water is a welcome relief.

Where to celebrate Songkrang:

Khanom: It is celebrated all over Thailand with great gusto and enthusiasm also in Khanom, just walk through the main street and because it will be hot - april is the hottest month of the year - clothes are likely to get ruined by sustained water and talc attacks, it’s advisable to wear as little as possible and to leave precious items of clothing in one’s luggage. Still, near-nudity is frowned upon and the Ministry of Culture appears to be scandalized each year by what it deems to be morally indecent incidents. One should certainly keep one’s camera fully clothed though – without waterproof housing, it’s likely to fall victim to the watery shenanigans. 

It starts rather gently in Khanom around 10am, turning to water dogfights during the day in the main street of Khanom, and ends in a hectic full scale wet war zone until late at night.

Nakhon Si Thammarat: Songkran "Nang Dan" Parade, Nakhon Si Thammarat: watch the spectacular Nang Dan cultural procession, join the locals in paying homage to Phra Maha That Chadi Nakhon Si Thammarat, and purify the Phra Buddha Sihing at Suan Si Thammasokarat and Hor Phra Shiva, April 12-14.

When to celebrate:

The government try to keep a cap on things by allowing water throwing only on April 13 but expect the watery revelry to last longer.

How to celebrate Songkran:

Foreign visitors to Thailand have but one option during Songkran – embrace, embrace, embrace. Tourists are special targets during the festivities and young Thais will make an extra effort to pour ice cold water down the back of your shirt if they see you pass by.

Songkran, or Thai New Year, is a Buddhist festival and the kingdom’s most important public holiday. The word Songkran is derived from Sanskrit and means "Astrological Passage". Traditionally, the dates for the festival were set by Brahmin priests, but these days the dates are fixed. Songkran marks the end of the dry season and the beginning of the annual rains in the fifth month of the Thai lunar year. Many Thais visit their local temple to pray and to wash their Buddha icons. Buddhist statues on house shrines are also cleaned. This cleansing ritual is to bring luck and prosperity for the coming year.

Nowadays, the throwing of water is the festival’s highlight. In fact, for three days virtually the entire country turns into a celebratory war zone. Children with huge water guns roam the streets or sit in the back of their parents’ pick-up trucks, which are loaded with buckets of water that is dispensed on anyone who happens to be within reach.White talc is also thrown in copious amounts and the city’s streets soon resemble the aftermath of a snow storm.

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