Songkran, celebrated in the month of April, is the traditional new year of Thailand. The festival of water, which lasts for 3 days, is very popular in Pattaya. Songkran festival on April 13 is Maha Songkran Day or the day to mark the culmination of the old year, April 14 is Wan Nao which is the day after and April 15 is Wan Thaloeng Sok on which the New Year commences.
With time, a slew of customs have become part and parcel of the
festival. People prepare for the festival by cleaning their houses and
burning refuse. They believe that any object dirty and old in home would
bring bad luck. On the first day of the festival, a procession is taken
out. The procession comprises Buddha idols and attendants on floats,
followed by minstrels and the town's people.
People dress themselves in new attire and visit the temples and
monasteries. They offer food and gifts to the monks. They bow there
heads before the Buddha idols and pour fragrant scented water on the
hands of the idols. Elders in the family also receive ceremonial bath
and gifts. Some wats have the tradition of building sand pagodas.
Devotees purchase joss sticks, candles, flowers and banners from the Wat
complex and then start building the sand pagodas.
Songkran is the festival of colourful water. People spend whole day
playing with colored water. People splash water joyfully on each other
and have fun. People believe that splashing coloured water would wash
off their sins. The water fights go on for seven days. Water fights on
Pattaya beaches is something to watch.
Values of the Festival
The festival holds inherent values for family, community and society. It
provides an opportunity of gathering to the family members. It is an
excuse for family members to get together after a long time. The young
express their regard for the elders by pouring fragrant water onto their
hands and presenting them with gifts. The elders pray for the young
prosperous and good life. The festival also encourages unity in the
community, facilitating people to meet each other. It also has a role
making people conscious towards environment. One of its traditions is to
clean houses, temples, official buildings and public places.