A nation-wide water fight celebration – sounds crazy? Only in Thailand!
Sonkran, the Thai New Year, is a time of celebration, food, festivities, and tons and tons of water! That’s right, the Thai New Year celebrated in the Buddhist calendar that lands around the 12th of April, is celebrated not by a ball dropping or champagne sloshing. Thai New Years is celebrated by super-soaking, buckets of water splashing on top of one another, music playing, people having a great time and plenty of singing and dancing. Sonkran is an amazing time when everyone is having a ball, and most of all everyone is smiling. This is by far one of the best ways to enjoy a New Year’s celebration, with a huge, wet smile on your face.
Please remember 3 things on Sonkran:
- Don’t keep anything valuable that isn’t waterproof in your pockets
- Be ready to get wet!
- Don’t plan too much as things seem to always change
- Have fun, this is Thailand
Sonkran is celebrated nationwide, from Krabi to Chiang Mai and everywhere in between. Whether it be a densely populated area of the Kingdom or a rural back road, you will see people sitting roadside, in trucks or even on top of elephants, throwing water at each other. You will find people everywhere celebrating this wonderful time of year.
Celebrating Sonkran this way is great, since it is already so hot for all of us, but more importantly it’s just one of the most intense festivals in the world. Sonkran is a holiday you will never forget.
A friend of mine came for a visit last year, but he didn’t know about the extent and magnitude of Sonkran. Upon leaving, he was bombarded at the airport by super soakers and small buckets of water. He later told me; “I loved and hated it at the same time. It was an amazing experience though – it made me realize that I can control nothing and I should just relax and go with the local flow.”
Now lets back up a bit into the history of Sonkran:
Resting in April, one of the hottest months of the year in Thailand, Sonkran is celebrated as not only a means to bring in the new year but also as a way of refreshment from the hot sweltering months that everyone is enduring. The water fight side of things was not a part of the original celebration but a modern adaptation developed to make the holiday both a celebration and refreshment for everything and everyone.
Typically among local people, paying respect to elders is a common part of the ceremony of Sonkran. Tradition is for the younger generation to pour water over the clasped hands of the elders of any given village and to wrap their hands in flower bracelets praying to them for their gifts and knowledge. It is a beautiful time in Thailand, some people celebrate a more traditional means of Sonkran, and some focus more on the water-fight side of things. There is something for everyone on Sonkran.
Enjoy this wonderful festival in Thailand but one thing you must always remember – and that is to smile.