Songkran, an annual Thai festival that is held on April 13th-15th is celebrated in Thailand and Laos. The literal translation of Songkran is ‘Astrological passage’ which means ‘transformation’.
Unlike how January 1st marks the beginning of a new year in the west, Songkran is recognized as Thai New Year. Traditionally, Thai people start their day on Songkran by giving food to monks in the morning as a symbol that marks the important day of celebration.
Others choose to visit temples and pay their respect to monks as well. During their visit at the temple, Thai people donate sand, which is a symbol of supporting a temple that is currently under construction or in need of repairs. Others choose to let animals free in order to erase their sins.
After a morning of performing traditional rituals, those who celebrate Songkran head home to change into colorful flower shirts in order to prepare for the most exciting part of the festival. Before the highlight of the festival begins, young children must pay their respects to their grandparents by performing a krāb (an action where you put your hands together and bend down while sitting). When all of this is over, the blast begins and people start splashing water at each other outdoors using water guns or huge buckets of water. Sometimes, we have water fights where we just shoot water at each other until one of us give in. Another ritual of Songkran is to put powder on one another’s faces.
Every spring in the Lawrenceville School, there is a school event called ‘Splash’. I think that Songkran is similar to this festival because in both events people splash each other with water. While I have only attended one Songkran event in the past, the experience was memorable and I enjoyed it very much.