One of the most unusual and colorful holidays in the world calendar is Songkran or Thai New Year. Those who happened to visit this festival of unrestrained fun will never be able to forget it. We suggest you find out what date the Thai New year will be in 2021, as well as more interesting facts about the traditions and customs of Thailand, because traditional Songkran is different from the tourist one.
Every year, the Thai New year is celebrated at the same time – from April 13 to April 15. In 2021, Songkran will be celebrated on Tuesday 13.04, Wednesday 14.04 and Thursday 15.04.
The date of the holiday is determined not by the traditional, but by the ancient Indian astrological calendar. A new cycle, that is, a year, begins not in the middle of winter, but on the day when the Sun moves from the constellation Pisces (the last constellation in the cycle)to the constellation Aries, which opens the calendar. This event usually occurs in the middle of spring.
Traditional Songkran is a rain festival. From Sanskrit, this word translates as “transition”, that is, movement from one season/period to another.
The beginning of the year is a time of rest, when the harvest season is already over, but the new sowing season has not yet started. At this time, the rainy season begins in Southeast Asia. It is believed that the more heavy and heavy the rains, the more water will be spilled, and the richer the rice harvest will be. So there was a tradition to pour water over each other as a sign of calling for a good ” wet ” season – water symbolized life and well-being.
Songkran originated in Ancient India, and historians still argue about the time of its appearance. It is only known for certain that this holiday is one of the oldest in modern culture, and the time of its existence is calculated not even for centuries, but for millennia.
Originating in the southern part of Ancient India with the development of trade and cultural ties between the peoples inhabiting the Indian Peninsula and Indochina, the tradition of celebrating the beginning of the season and the beginning of the year spread more widely – throughout Southeast Asia. Imperceptibly, Songkran merged into Buddhist beliefs, and gradually the holiday acquired a religious connotation.
In different regions of the country, some individual aspects of the holiday may differ. So, in the North of Thailand, they start celebrating Songran earlier – not on April 13, but on April 11.
The days before are devoted to preparation. In the first place — General cleaning, literal cleaning of the home – not only from dirt and debris, but also from old, broken, unnecessary things. In the New year, you should enter clean, without the burden of the past behind your shoulders, without accumulated junk and litter, without dirt on the walls of the house, on the soul and body.
Cleaning is followed by a day of body cleansing. Then while it was cooking. Moreover, the dishes should not be ordinary, not everyday, but special-festive, refined, beautiful. Food plays an important role in traditional celebrations. Special treats are being prepared:
- for monks — as a sign of respect;
- for older members of the family — as a sign of respect;
- for guests and family members — as a sign of love and friendship.
And we should also mention the traditional ablutions. Clean, by no means salty water was collected in a large container and generously sprinkled with flower petals (for flavor and beauty). Then the water was scooped up in small bowls, and from there it was poured in a thin trickle on my hands. First, they washed the hands of the elders in the family or monks in the temple, then-guests who visited the house on the day of the holiday. Then it was the turn of adults – those who worked and took care of the well-being of the house. Children, including the youngest, were the last to receive ablution.
Water is a symbol of prosperity, well-being, happiness, and therefore it should have been given to the whole family. In traditional Songkran, ablution is not an unrestrained sprinkling of water on everyone around, but a strict ritual, the observance of which is mandatory for everyone.
Most tourists who have visited Thailand at least once dream of returning to the island in April and seeing and experiencing the most fun and vibrant festival of the season – Thai New year.
Young people and tourists take to the streets these days properly prepared-with water pistols, buckets and other “splashers”. The city authorities and just not indifferent citizens display water in barrels and vats (in some cities, additional water “shells” are offered for a fee). And then the fun begins — with exclamations-wishes of happiness and wealth, all participants of the festival pour water on each other.
Went to the Songkran on the street? You have already become a member, and don’t worry if someone throws a bucket of water on you, jumping out from around the corner. Rather, pour it in response — after all, so you wish him all the best!
Also watch the video of how to inflate the Songkran on the streets of Pattaya: