If you are on your sailing holidays in Thailand over Songkran, then you will be visiting over the traditional Thai New Year. Aside from thanksgiving to Buddha, the Thai people have family reunions, visit monasteries and pass alms to the Buddhist monks, as well as conducting a friendly water fight with family, friends and visitors!
What is Songkran?
The Songkran festival is the celebration of the Thai New Year and takes place from the traditional New Year’s Day of the 13th to the 15th April. Historically the date of the Songkran festival was set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed annually as the 13th April.
If you do happen to be on your sailing holidays in Thailand over Songkran, then be prepared to get wet, as Songkran is also known as the Thai Water Festival, it is traditionally celebrated by sprinkling water on your family members and elders, as this was believe to bring good fortune by washing away the bad luck of last year, and to pay their respects to images of Buddha. It also provides opportunities for the young to show respect to their elders by pouring fragrant water on their hands and offering prayer for them.
Today the festival over 3 days involves splashing locals and tourists alike with buckets of water, water hoses and super soakers as people gather in the streets to join in the fun. Luckily Thai New Year falls in the hottest time of the year, so it is perfect for getting wet!
Where is it celebrated?
Chaing Mai is known as holding the biggest and most well known of the Thai Water festival parades, and this involves parading the statues from local temples through the streets in celebration of the New Year. However if you are sailing in Thailand over this time and are chartering from Phuket, there will be celebrations held here, as well as other major places in Thailand, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Khon Kaen, so there are plenty of opportunities to get wet!
Who gets involved?
Everyone! All are invited to take part in the parades and normally this involves people respectfully pouring water over the arms and legs of the Buddha. Normally on the 13th April the streets can be lined with pickup trucks with their beds loaded with ice-cold water and then people splashing passers by who line the roads with water guns to shoot back!
Children love to get involved and tend to spray anyone who comes in their path! Of course the police are the number one target for many revellers, but they keep a stern eye on the goings on to make sure everything is controlled.
What’s happening in Phuket for Songkran?
On Patong Beach in Phuket, there will be a procession of the Phra Buddha Sihing image around the Beach, as well as a floral parade, a beauty pageant, and you can also expect to see various local exhibits of local crafts and clothing. As well as of course the perfect excuse to have fun, hit the streets and throw tonnes of water around at anything and everything using buckets and toy water guns!
Well if you don’t want to get wet at all, then stay on board your yacht for the duration of the festival! But if you do venture ashore then these are our top tips;
Take a waterproof camera with you
Wear clothing that you don’t mind if it gets a bit trashed in all the water
Don’t drive anywhere as the roads will be sodden and there are people everywhere, plus traffic is super slow!
Keep reapplying sunscreen if you are constantly getting soaked.
So if you are on your sailing holidays in Thailand over the Songkran festival, you will be sure to get wet, wet, wet!
22nd May 2017
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