What is Songkran? Songkran is a Thai traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3 days. The first day is called Maha Songkran Day or the day to mark the end of the old year, second day is Wan Nao which is the day after and the last day is Wan Thaloeng Sok which the New Year begins. At this time, people from the rural areas who are working in the city usually return home to celebrate the festival. Thus, when the time comes, Bangkok temporarily turns into a deserted city. Songkran is a Thai word which means "move" or "change place" as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is also known as the "Water Festival" as people believe that water will wash away bad luck. The value for family is to provide the opportunity for family members to gather in order to express their respects to the elders by pouring scented water onto the hands of their parents and grandparents and to present them gifts including making merits to dedicate the result to their ancestors. The elders in return wish the youngsters good luck and prosperity. The values for community are to provide the opportunity to create unity in the community such as to jointly acquire merits, to meet each other and to enjoy the entertaining events. And for the society value is to create concern upon environment with cooperation such as to clean houses, temples, public places and official buildings. Thais value the religion by means of merits acquisition, offerings alms to monks, Dhamma Practice, listening to sermon and monks-bathing. In the afternoon, after performing a bathing rite for Buddha images and the monks, the celebrants both young and old, joyfully splash water on each other. The most-talked about celebration takes place in the northern province of Chiang Mai where Songkran is celebrated from April 13 to 15. During this period, people from all parts of the country flock there to enjoy the water festival, to watch the Miss Songkran Contest and the beautiful parades.
I have been working here in Thailand for almost six months already and was lucky enough I was able to join and experience this festival. I arrived here in Thailand one week before the Songkran Festival. Just enough time to familiarize the place and meet some friends. April 13, 2007, it was Friday, I saw some people started splashing water on each other in the streets already. Some of them even pour water to the cars passing by. I saw some group of teenagers setting up some speakers and radios outside their house and started dancing and singing. Too bad we still have to go to work that day. On Sunday, April 15, 2007, I went to church in the morning. After the service, did some strolling. Went to the mall, played computer, watched movie and ate some delicious food. Around ten in the evening, my friend invited me to go to Silom Park. It was one of the places here in Bangkok where the big celebration of Songkran was held. There was this street they called Pat Pong, a very long street where once you have entered; it would be difficult for you to go back because it was too crowded. You have to go all the way to the end of the street and go back the other way. I really enjoyed that night. Every one was splashing water on each other. Some even had big water guns. They also had this thing, like a white chalk where they applied it on each other's face. It was really fun. After a few hours of “getting wet”, we went to Nigh Bizarre, one of the Tourist’s Spots in Bangkok. Just walked around and checked some things to buy. But it was quite expensive considering that it was built for Tourist and I am not a tourist at all.