Songkran Water Festival, Thailand

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The water Festival is the New Year’s celebrations that take place in Southeast Asian countries such as Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand as well as Yunnan, China. It is called as the ‘water Festival’ by the westerners because people splash/ pour water at one another as the new year falls during the hottest month in the South East Asia, many people end up dousing strangers and passersby in the vehicles in boisterous celebration.

The traditional water pouring is meant as the symbol of washing away the all of their sins and bad and is sometimes filled with the fragrant herbs when celebrated in the traditional manner.

The Songkran Water Festival lasts for three days. The activities of first 2 day’s activities are concentrated on the banks of the Lancang River. On the 1st day, the grand celebration marks the beginning of the festival. An outdoor market is all set up, where the locals go for New Year shopping. It is also the great place to purchase the local souvenirs. Local food and snacks are other highlights traveller may not want to miss.

The third day, climax of the festival, is reserved for water splashing. On that day, the Dai put on their newest and best clothes, and then assemble at the local Buddhist temple, where the monks chant the Buddhist scriptures. After that, a symbolic water splashing ritual is enacted whereby the Buddhist statue with the pomp and ceremony, is the first coaxed out of the temple courtyard then splashed with the water. This is the important ritual which is called as ‘Bathing the Buddha’.

This water splashing ceremony, however is more than just good-natured fun, it also contains the religious element: water is regarded by the Dai as the symbol, firstly of religious purity but also of goodwill among people.

The festival has many different names specific to each country such as the Songkran in Laos and Thailand, Chaul Chnam Thmey in the Cambodia and Thingyan in Myanmar.

“Water Splashing Festival” is one of the most influential ethnic festivals in Yunnan area. It attracts thousands of tourists every year from all over the China.