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Songkran Festival 2016
Published date : March 31,2016

“SongkranSplendours”

“Songkran” is a traditional festival in Thailand.A word “Songkran” derives. The root of the word comes from Sanskrit, meaning ‘transformation’or ‘change’, to be specific, the transformation of the zodiac signs.

Songkran Festival has been the Thai New Year celebration for centuries. The festival symbolizes hospitality, love, and relationship in families, communities, and society as a whole.This celebration takes place in mid-Summer, while the sun moves to Aries on the astrologer’s chart. Therefore,water is used to cool down the heat, as well as to show respect and receive blessings from older relatives and pray for those who have passed away. As for community bonding, activities that take place during this celebration include building sand pagodas, making merit, and throwing water at each other. Moreover, as a part of the tradition, it is also a big cleaning day, which creates a sense of community.

In present, the date of the ‘Great Songkran’ (Mahasongkran) or the ‘New Year’ is set on the 13th of April, the date that the sun moves from Pisces to  Aries, Songkran festival consists of 3 full days of making merit. Mahasongkran day or the New Year’s Eve falls on the 13th, Nao day or the day in the middle on the 14th, and lastly the New Year on the 15th.

The Beautiful Songkran Festival

The “SongkranSplendours2016”

1. Songkran in Bangkok

            Date : 12-15 April 2016

- Songkran in Visuthikasat

            Started in 1931 and considered as the ‘Legendary Songkran Festival of the Bangkok’s old town’ not only because of the collaboration of local communities, but also the original tradition of ‘Miss Songkran’ competition that has been a continuing for over 70 years.

            Venue : Visuthikasat intersection (Bang Khunprom intersection) under the Rama IIIV Bridge.

            For more information : The President of Visuthikasat Association - Tel. 08 6345 5836 / PhraNakhorn District Office -Tel. 0 2628 9068

- Songkran in Banglumpoo

            Here, as significant part of the festival, there will be a ceremony where the “PhuttaBang is, with great respect, taken from BowonniwetVihara Temple to SantiChaiprakarn Park for the public to pray to and receive blessings. There are also other Buddhist ceremonies such as giving food to monks, the Thai tradition of being blessed by elders, and Thai dances.

            Venue : SuanSantiChaiprakarn (park), PhraArtit Road, Bangkok

            For more information : PhraNakhornDistric Office - Tel. 0 2628 9068

- Songkran Splendours : The Procession of Three Kingdoms

            This April 10, 2016, at 15.00-18.00 hrs., “The Procession of Three Kingdoms”, parading fromMahajetsadabodin Royal Pavilion, RatchadamnoenKlang Road, RatchadamnoenNai Road, NhaPhraLan Road, Maharaj Road to Nagaraphirom Park, depicts a miraculous tale of the world’s heritage,Songkran festivals,and the story of Songkran’sseven beauty pageants.  The procession is divided into three kingdoms.

            First procession          Kingdom of Rama III : Engraving of World’s Heritage

            Second procession      Kingdom of Rama V : April 13, Songkran Day in Thailand

            Final procession          Kingdom of Rama VII : Songkran Around The World

The first procession carries a wallengraving a literature of the Songkran festival from WatPhraChetuphonVimolmangklararm (Wat Pho) and it is transformed into a performance, which includes performers, Himmapan creatures and seven beauty pageants.  And, this is the first time to enjoy water display in a performance “SongkranSplendours, The Cultural Heritage”.  Follow by a procession that exhibit traditional Songkran in five regions of the country showing Thai ways of merit making and celebrating the new year! The procession involves;

1.Northern region           Salungluang, Lampang Province
2.North-eastern region    Ton Dokmai, Loey Province
3.Central region             Thai-Burmese Songkran Festival, Ratchaburi Province
4.Eastern region             Sri MahaRacha& Gong Kao, Chonburi Province
5.Southern region           Nang Dan, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province

Ending the Procession of Three Kingdoms portraying Thais and Laos bonds through Phra That Phanom of Nakorn Phanom Province and  Phra That Si Ko Ta Bong of Laos.

SongkranSplendours : The Procession of Three Kingdomsbegins with an opening performance at the main stage of Mahajetsadabodin Royal Pavilion and the Democracy Monument.  There are yet many more to enjoy, such as an ancient market, Thai traditional plays, includes LakornNok and Royal Puppet, locating at WatPhraChetuphonVimolmangklararm    (Wat Pho) from April 10-12, 2016, 10.30-20.30 hrs.

The event to be heldaround Mahajetsadabodin Royal Pavilion, RatchadamnoenKlang Road, RatchadamnoenNai Road, NhaPhraLan Road, Maharaj Road to Nagaraphirom Park

For more information, please contact Tourism Authority of Thailand,
0 2250 5500 ext. 3470-3 or at TAT CALL CENTER 1672

 

2. SongkranSamutPrakarn

 Songkran in PhraPradaeng, SamutPrakarn

            Date : 22-24 April 2016

            Venue : Around PhraPradaeng Municipality Building, SamutPrakarn

            Songkran in PhraPradaeng or also known as ‘SongkranPaklad’ is the ‘Raman’ (a group of Burmese-Thai) tradition of celebrating Songkran Festival. The Raman celebration has been continuously since the old days with uniqueness on the last day of the festivity (one week after April 13). Every village works together to create a beautiful parade, including elaborate flower wagons, which ‘Raman’ girls and ‘Loy Chai’ boys and Miss Songkran also tag along for the ceremony. Raman and Loy Chai wear traditional attires during the celebration. Birds and fish are taken to the Prodketshetharam royal temple where they will be set free. It is believed that any person who sets animals free will be saved from their own bad fortune and will live a long life.  After finishing the ceremony, on their way back, people from the villages respectfully throw water at each other. The people of PhraPradaeng have been preserving this manner of celebration for a long time. Interested visitors are welcome to join the ceremony.

            Activities :

           - Watch ‘Miss SongkranPhraPradaeng’ and ‘Loy Chai Boy’ competitions

           - Birds and Fish Parade

           - Watch series of wagons beautifully decorated with flowers, also Miss Songkran will join the parade

           - Traditional Raman games (Saba)

           - Traditional Raman Kalamae cooking (Kwanhagoe)

            For more information : PhraPradaeng municipality 0 2463 4841 / Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangkok 0 2276 2720-1

 

3. Songkran in SangkhlaBuri, KanchanaBuri

            Date : 12-17 April 2016

            Venue: Wang Wiwekaram Temple and Bodhgaya stupa, SangkhlaBuri District, Kanchanaburi

            “The Bridge of Hope, Monks walk onpeople’s backs. Songkran in SangkhlaBuri” The highlight here is the ‘Mon’ (a group of Burmese-Thai) tradition of cerebrating Songkran. The Mon will carry food on their head to serve to the monks. In the evening, watching people carrying water for their parents to take a bath and elders go to observe the rules at the temple,also bringing sand into temples to build sand pagoda in front of Bodhgaya stupa.And more interestingly, there is the Mon ceremony of purifying Buddha statues through bamboo pipes that can be kilometers in length. During the auspicious day men will voluntarily lay down on the street to make a human bridge for monks to walk upon to the purifying area and after finishing the ceremony, men will carry the monks to theirhuts. In the morning of 18 April, the last day of Songkran Festival, off-season Buddhist robes, installation of a parasol on the sand pagoda along to 1 kilometer.
            Activities :     
            - Mon’s traditional ceremony such as; learning about ‘MohMongkol’ ritual, observing religious precepts, giving evening bath to the elders, and bringing sand into temples to build Mon’s sand pagoda (April 17th, 2016, starts at 9.00 hrs.)
            - Join the Buddha statue bathing rite through bamboo rail, watch monks walk on people’s back (16 April 2016 from 15.00 hrs.) 
            - Monk robe parade, put tiered umbrella on sand pagodas, make a merit through pouring water (17 April 2016 from 9.00 hrs.)
            For more information : Assistant district officer Manop, Municipal sub-district Wangga   Tel. 08 1010 7234
                                             Ms. AranyaCharoenhongsaTel. 08 9092 5140, 08 9514 2398               
                                             Municipal sub-district WanggaTel. 0 3459 5093 
                                             TAT. Kanchanaburi office, Tel. 0 3451 1200, 0 3451 2500

 

4. SongkranSukhothai, Semimonth travel. Sukhothai

               Thai Puan’s elephant ordination tradition at Baan Had Siew

               Date               7 April 2016       

               Venue             at Wat Had Siew, Si Satchanalai district, Sukhothai

               Song Nam – Oi Tan ceremony, Songkran Si Satchanalai

               Date                8-12 April 2016   

               Venue              at the monument of PhraMahathammaracha I (Lithai), Si Satchanalai district, Sukhothai

               The Auspicious Songkran,ThalayLuang Holy Water 2016

               Date                9-11 April 2016

               Venue              at ThungThalayLuang, Muang district, Sukhothai

               Songkran and Sawan-khalok food festival

               Date                11-15 April 2016  

               Venue              On the floating stage Yom River, in front of WatSawangAromWorawihan, Sawan-khalok district, Sukhothai

               Retro SongkranSplendours, Sukhothai 2016

               Date                 12-14 April 2016

               Venue               at Sukhothai historical park, Sukhothai

               Flowery pattern shirt Songkran on KhaoTok road, Sukhothai

               Date                 12-15 April 2016  

               Venue               at Sukhothai city and Sukhothai public park, Sukhothai

               Hae Nam Kuen Hong ceremony andChao Muen Dong bathing rite

               Date                 17-19 April 2016  

               Venue               at the monument of Chao Muen Dong, Baan Toek sub-district, Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai

 

               For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sukhothai office Tel. 0 551 6228 - 9

 

5.  “2016 Celebration of the 60th Chinese Zodiac anniversary, Chiang Mai 720 years” and “Paweni Pi Mai Muang 2016”

            Date : 12-16 April 2016

            Venue : Chiang Mai Town, Chiang Mai

            In the North, where SongkranLanna is celebrated, it is also called the ‘Paweni Pi Mai Muang’. The celebration begins on April 13, which is called ‘Sangkhan Long’ day. The day is considered as the last day of the year in the Northern region. In the morning, firecrackers will be lit because of the belief that evil from the past year will be chased away by the noise of the firecrackers. In the evening, a parade for Chiang Mai’s significant Buddha statue will be organized around the city. Locals and tourists join the ceremony both for fun and to make merit. On April 14 or ‘Nao’ day, it is believed that swear words and rude manner are prohibited on this particular day. Anyone who breaks the rules will have bad luck for a whole year. On April 15 that is either called the ‘Phya day’ or ‘beginning of the new era’. On this day locals usually start their morning early and go to a temple to make a merit, listen to monks’ preachment. And later in the day they will go respectfully to their parents and older relatives to pour water on the hands and ask for blessing. On the 16, ‘Pak Pi’ day people will go to pour water on the hands of the abbots from different temples. On the 17April ‘Pak Duen’ day, the last day of Songkran celebration here, locals will clean themselves by brushing their body to symbolize cleaning bad luck away. This tradition is the uniqueness of the North of Thailand only.

            Activities :

          - Join the parade and pour water on Chiang Mai and Lanna’s prominent Buddha statue ‘PhraPutthaSihing’

          - Join the parade and bring sand and ‘Salee (Bodhi tree) Clutches’ to the temple

          For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai - Tel. 0 5324 8604-5

 

6. Pleasant Songkran, Thailand-Laos’ New Year, NakhonPhanom

            Date : The 12-15 April 2016

            Venue : at Khao-poon road and LaanPhanom Naga, Muang District, NakhonPhanom

            The Pleasant Songkran Thailand-Laos’ New Year is organized according to 7 diverse tribes’ traditions inNakhonPhanom. Songkran in this area mirrors the identity of the locals such as: making merit by giving monks sticky rice, playing Saba Toy game, ‘Tob Pa Sai’ ceremony or building sand pagodas, and worshipping different Buddha’s relics according to your birthday. Also, there is a Songkran retro marketwhere you can enjoy all the delicious local food. And of course, you will get to throw water as it is Songkran festival, but more importantly here you get to mingle and play with 7 various tribes while absorbing their culture.

            Activities : In Renu district, there is a famous traditional dance called ‘Ram Pu Tai’ which is known for being lithe, together with a magical ‘Bai Sri’ ceremony where locals welcome visitors by tying a small rope on their wrists, this makes Songkran in Renu distinct from the festival elsewhere. Last but not least, this is also a good chance to join the local ‘Miss Songkran’ parade.

            A chance for to participate in traditional activity like giving food like sticky rice to monks Play Saba Toy, worship Buddha’s relics for blessing, explore Songkran retro market, throw water game with people form 7 tribes, watch cultural show

            In Renu district, absorb different cultures and enjoy ‘Miss RenuNakhon’ competition on the cultural street, TambonRenu Municipality

            For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, NakhonPhanom - Tel. 0 4251 3490-1
 

7.  Songkran ‘Nang Dan’ Parade, Nokhon Sri Thammarat

          Date : 11-15 April 2016

          Venue : Sri Thammasokarat Park and PhraIsuan (Shiva) Tower, Muangdistric, Nakhon Sri Thammarat

          ‘Nang Dan’ Parade ceremony is influenced by Hindu religious rituals, which is a part of the Hindu ‘Swinging Ceremony’ or ‘Tri Yampawai’. The meaning of this ceremony is to respectfully engage 3 of the Hindu subordinate gods to greet ‘PhraIsuan’(Shiva) when he pays a visit to earth on the secondmonth of every year in order bless the town. Hence, the celebration in Nakhon Sri Thammarat is quite different from other parts of the country as there is a mixture of both Hindu and Buddhism. This shows the long and rich civilization of the past. PhraBarommathatChedi (pagoda) is one of the most prominent sacred places where the PhraPutthaSihing statue is kept as the spirit of the city. Purifying the statue is considered as a significant and valuable tradition of the area.

            Activities : Nang Dan Parade

            For more information : Nakhon Sri Thammarat Municipality - Tel. 075342880-2 / Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nakhon Sri Thammarat- Tel. 0 7534 6515-6

 

8. Songkran in the Ancient Capital City, Ayutthaya

- Songkran in the Ancient Capital City, Splash water with elephants

            Date : 13-15 April 2016

            Venue : Si Sanphet road in front of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Ayutthaya office

             Take part in Songkran festival in Ayutthaya historical park, which has been registered as World’s Heritage. This is the only place in the world where visitors can splash water with elephants to celebrate Songkran (Visitors can splash water with elephants at the front area of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Ayutthaya office)

            Activities : - Respectfully pour water on Buddha statue and build sand pagodas

                               - Splash water with elephants
                               - Retro traditional Thai dance              

            For more information :  Tourism Authority of Thailand, Ayutthaya office, Tel. 0 3524 6076 – 7

- Songkran in the ancient capital city, Ayutthaya

            Date : 13April 2016

            Venue : at the street in front of Ayutthaya municipality office, Ayutthaya

            Activities :

            - Donate dried food and rice to the monks in front of the hall in WatMongkolBophit

            - Watch elephant and beautiful flower parade
            - Water splashing

            For more information : Ayutthaya Municipality, Tel. 0 3525 2168

- Mon Songkran

            Date : 14 April 2016

            Venue : Wat Thong Bo, Bang Pa-in subdistrict, Ayutthaya        

            Activities : 

            - Join the only Buddha statue bathing rite through bamboo railin Ayutthaya

            - Make a merit, donate food to monks
            - Watch Ta-khab flag or ‘No’ parade, Raman culture; the Raman people live in the village around the pagoda, and put fabric on Wat Thong Bo pagoda     

            For more information : Baan Pho Subdistrict Administration Organization, Tel. 0 3535 0125

 

9. Songkran Splendors, SupanBuri2016

            Date : 13-15 April 2016

            Venue : The water stage in front of SupanBuri public transportation, MuangSupanBuri District

            Songkran celebration in SupanBuri not only one of the biggest Songkran festivals, but also has all the elements of Thailand’s Central plain tradition. The purpose of the festival is quite clear: which is for all to have fun!

            Activities : Wearing Thai dresses, Watch the inter-communal Songkran parade competition with local distinctiveness from 10 different districts.  And see a golden ‘LuangPohToh’ and SupanBuri’s divine religious parade. Culturally, this is a chance to watch ‘Miss Songkran’ competition and enjoy concerts from famous Thai artists, while you absorb conventional art and culture with award-winning performances from local students.

            For more information : SupanBuri local government office - Tel. 0 3553 5380 / Tourism Authority of Thailand, SupanBuri- Tel. 0 3552 5880, 0 3552 5867,  0 3553 5863-4

 

10. Grand SongkranEsanNongkhai, Nongkhai

            Date : 6-18 April 2016

            Venue : at Jane Job Thit Road, Naga Fountain Square,Prachak Road, and WatPho Chai (Royal Temple) in Muang District, NongKhai

          This is a celebration offaith, where visitors can purify the ‘PhraLuangPohPhraSai’ statue, which is Nongkhai’s significant spiritual icon. The parade goes around Nongkhai city only once a year to give a chance for both locals (Thai-Laos) and tourists to pray for blessings.

          Activities : Join ‘PhraLuangPohPhraSai’ parade Make a merit

          For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, UdornThani office - Tel. 0 4232 5406-7
 

11. Sand pagoda ceremony on Lai day, Bangsan district, Chon Buri

            Date : 16-17 April 2016

            Venue : Bangsan beach, Muang Sub-district, Chon Buri

            Sand pagoda ceremony on Lai day, Bangsan, is an annual convention of the people of Sansook district. This is an ancient tradition that used to be called ‘Tamboon Wan Lai’, which is to describe the ceremony where members of many different villages come together for Songkran, the Thai New Year celebration. However, these days many customs are slowly disappearing, therefore Sansook Municipality decided to support and perpetuate their local convention so that people from the next generation can learn about these traditions.

            Activities :

            - Sand pagoda competition

            - Sea-boxing competition

            - Local celebration

            For more information : Sansook Municipality - Tel. 0 3819 3509 / Tourism Authority of Thailand, Pattaya office (Chon Buri) - Tel. 0 3842 7667, 0 3842 8750, 0 3842 3990

 

Joyous Songkran Splendors

            Nowadays both Thai andForeigners show more interest in joining Songkran Festival, especially in splashing water. Hence both public and private sectors agree to host Songkran celebration in various locations in order to create distinct atmosphere for visitors to enjoy the festivity. And most importantly, the hosts pay most attention on making sure that participants will be safe and have great moments during their time in the Thai New Year, ‘Songkran Splendors’.

1. Khaosan Road, Bangkok

            Date : 13-15 April 2016

            Venue : Khaosan Road, Bangkok

            For more information :       PhraNakhon District Office - Tel. 0 2628 9068

2. Silom Road, Bangkok

            Date : 13-15 April 2016

            Venue : Silom Road, Bangkok

            For more information:       Bangrak District Office - Tel. 0 2236 1395 ext. 6211

3. Around the City Moat, Chiang Mai

            Date : 12-16 April 2016

            Venue : Around Chiang Mai city’s moat

            For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai - Tel. 0 5327 6140-1

4. Pattaya City and Chon Buri

            Date : 16-17 April 2016

            Venue : PhraPutthaSihing Hall, Sri Chang Island, Bang Phra Beach, Sattahip District, Pattaya Beach, North, Middle, and South of Lan Bodhi (Na Glue) park and Sri racha district park.

            For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chon Buri- Tel. 0 3842 7667, 0 3842 8750

5. KhaoNiew Road, KhonKaen

            Date : 5-15 April 2016

            Venue : KhaoNiew Road (Sri Chan Road), and BeungKaenNakorn, KhonKaen

           For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, KhonKaen Office -Tel. 0 4322 7714-6

6.  Patong beach, Phuket

            Date : 11-13 April 2016

            Venue : Patong Beach, Kathu District, Phuket

            For more information : Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket office - Tel. 0 7621 1036, 0 7621 2213, 0 7621 7138

7.   Hat Yai Area (Hat Yai Midnight Songkran), Songkhla

            Date : 11-15 April 2016

            Venue : NipatUthit 3 Street

             Sanehanusorn Road

             Thammanoonwithi Road

             MahattaMangkhalaram Temple (Hat Yai Temple), Hat Yai District, Songkhla   

8.  SongkranKohSamui, SuratThani

            Date and Time : 12-13 April 2016

            Venue : Chaweng Beach, Samui Island, SuratThani

            For more information : KohSamui Municipality - Tel. 0 774 21421-2 / KohSamui Tourism Center - Tel. 0 774 20504 / KohSamui Tourism Association - Tel. 0 7742 6932

 

Tips to fully enjoy Songkran

- In the morning, make a merit and listen to preachment for blessing as it is New Year celebration
- To purify Buddha or other statues, the water should not be pour right on the head, rather to other parts of the statues
- The custom of pouring water on elders’ (above 60 years old) hand, is to show them your respect and ask them for New Year blessing
- To celebrate Thai Songkran water should be lightly sprinkled. Water used in the festival must be clean, adding fragranced is optional. Dirty and/or cold water are not allowed, as well as to mixed water with ice, sweet basil seeds, sago, nor with dyeing color 
- Avoid using high-pressured water gun or splash water aggressively to others

- Women should not wear tight and overly exposing clothes, including ones that is light in colors because it can lead to sexual harassment 

*Call the TAT in your destinations for more information before going to the places*