The traditional Thai New Year is an occasion for merrymaking in Bangkok as well as in other parts of the country. Thais mark the occasion with religious ceremony as well as public festivities. Anyone who ventures out on the streets is likely to get a thorough soaking, but all in a sprit of fun and goodwill at the peak of hot season.
Songkran comes from Sanskrit language which means “move” or “change place” as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. Songkran Festival falls on April 13, 14 , 15 of every year. April 13 is “Maha Songkran Day” which means a big step of changing, April 14 is “Nao Day” which means the day after Songkran Day and before the old Thai New Year’s Day, and April 15 is “Taleung Sok Day” which means Thai New Year’s Day. In some ways, Songkran resembles the Christian holiday of Easter. Young and old dress in new clothing and visit their temple, where they offer food to the monks. It is a day of celebration as well as a feast day for the monks, and music is often played as a backdrop to the festivities.
On the eve of Songkran Day, housewives give their homes a thorough cleaning. Worn-out clothing, household effects and rubbish are burned in the religious belief that anything old or useless must be thrown away or it will bring bad luck to the owner. During the afternoon of the 13th, Buddha images are bathed as part of the ceremony. Young people pour scented water into the hands of elders and parents as a mark of respect while seeking the blessing of the older people. In ancient times, old people were actually given a bath and clothed in new apparel presented by the young people as a mark of respect for the New Year. The whole country usually celebrates Songkran, but the merriest festivities always take place in Chiang Mai. As a result, Thailand’s second largest city is always crowded with revelers, and visitors wishing to experience the fun of a Chiang Mai Songkran must make arrangements months in advance.