Yes it is that time again. Many of us love it, others loath it but at the end of the day, if we live in the Kingdom, we must be tolerant of the Thai ways but better still, get involved.
But what do we know of this tradition?
Well as mentioned above, Songkran is the celebration of Thailand’s New Year which falls on the 13th of April each year.
Generally, the holiday period includes the 14th and 15th but in Pattaya, the celebrations are extended by a few days, including their big day for festivities, which is the 19th of April.
The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word sa?kr?nti, meaning “astrological passage”.
The celebrations usually commence with visits to local Buddhist temples, where offering food to Buddhist monks in a common sight.
Water is poured over statues of Buddha, which is considered to be an iconic ritual. It represents purification and the cleansing of a person’s sins and ill fortune.
Many families are reunited with loved ones, who may have moved away to pastures new around the kingdom.
However, from a tourist’s aspect, Songkran is a time for water festivities.
Many youngsters head out into the streets and alleys to engage in water fights with anyone passing by. Water guns or small buckets are utilised to drench people as they wander by a bar. Pretty girls are commonly seen, lying in wait for people, so they can pour water over their heads.
Often the water is warm and welcome but then you may be taken completely by surprise as ice cold water is thrown over your back, sending shock waves throughout your body.
It is highly advisable to purchase some form of waterproof case from the many street vendors to ensure your phone and wallet remains dry or simply wrap them in a polythene bag and keep them enclosed until you are safely back in your condo or hotel room.
In addition to the water events, there are numerous parades to be found. In Pattaya these tend to be organised along the beach areas. Roads are closed to traffic to allow the lorries, that have been adorned for the parades to pass through safely.
Many of the participants will either be donned in traditional Thai dress or some form of fancy dress.
There is a feeling of goodwill, fun and hilarity during the Songkran celebrations. If you are a tourist, it is a must see/attend event.
Prepare to get wet but the good news is, you will be dry in no time due to the heat. Even the coldest of water, warms quickly in the Thai sun.