Thai Celebrations & Traditions
Songkran, or Thai New Year, has been celebrated in mid-April since ancient times. Throughout the country, people take part in a variety of activities to say “goodbye” to the previous year and welcome in the new one. As part of the religious celebrations, people visit temples to gently pour a rose-scented water over Buddha statues. This is believed to bring good luck and fortune in the year ahead.
The religious ceremonies continue with a parade of Buddha statues through the city streets. This offers community members the opportunity to take part in the Buddha bathing rites. With April being the hottest month in Thailand and temperatures often soaring into the triple digits, it’s easy to see how this practice has become the world’s largest water fight.
In Chiang Mai, I decided to join the local party-goers. Boy, was I glad to be armed with two large water guns. It wasn’t long before I was soaked from head to toe. I can’t imagine a better way to learn about a new place than literally immersing myself in Thailand’s ceremonies, traditions, and celebrations.
Songkran isn’t the only way the Thai people wish for a blessed future. Throughout the year, sky lanterns are used to send wishes to the heavens.
Sky lanterns originated in China and date back over 2,000 years. It is believed that they were first used as a type of military signaling device, much like a flare. As Chinese communities began to migrate to Thailand centuries ago, they brought many of these customs with them. Now, they are part of the Thai culture.