The New Year is celebrated in Thailand from April 13 through April 15. The name for the festival, Songkran, means “astrological passage” and refers to the entry of the sun into the sign of Aries, the start of the zodiac.
Water is an important symbol of the festival, signifying both purification and renewal. Water is poured over statues of Buddha. Young people wash the palms of their elders with scented water. Water fights break out in the streets: buckets of water and water guns are employed to get everyone wet.
Young girls purchase small live fish and take them to the river to set them free. The same is done with songbirds. Along the river banks, people build pyramids of sand into which they stick tiny colored flags. The newest customs include beauty festivals to choose a Miss Songkran and gifts of towels (to sop up all the water). Continue reading