Songkran is not just about water fights

Songkran is not just about water fights

Songkran takes place all over Thailand in mid April every year. This is the traditional Thai new year which is the most enjoyable of all festivals both for Thai people and foreign tourists. Songkran is widely known as the water festival as people have lots of fun splashing water over each other during the three day festival. However, Songkran is more than just water fights. I took the following pictures in my local area of some more Songkran activities.

Offering Alms to Monks
Offering Alms to Monks

On the first day of the Songkran Festival, people will offer alms to monks. Thai people do this to make merit which is a good way to start the new year.

Songkran Parade
Songkran Parade

Many cities around Thailand will have Songkran Parades to mark the start of the festival. I took the picture of this colourful float in a parade at Phra Pradaeng in Samut Prakan.

Songkran in Thailand
Miss Songkran beauty contest

During Songkran there are also beauty contests to find the most beautiful Thai woman and also the most handsome Thai man. The winners will take part in the parade.

Pouring rose scented water on the hands of elders
Pouring rose scented water on the hands of elders

During Songkran, it is traditional for Thai people to return to their ancestral homes and to pour water on the hands of their elders. They will also do this to anyone older than themselves that have been important in their lives like a teacher or other relative.

Songkran in Thailand
Pouring rose scented water on Buddha images

People also pour rose scented water on Buddha images as part of the ceremony.

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At the temples they also organize ceremonies where you can go and pour rose scented water onto Buddha images and onto the hands of monks.

Making sand pagodas in the temple grounds
Making sand pagodas in the temple grounds

Another traditional activity for Songkran is making sand pagodas. This is a competition joined by local families to make the most beautiful pagoda made of sand. The original idea was for people to bring sand back to the temple which they may have inadvertently carried away on the sole of their shoes.

Making Merit by Releasing Fish and Birds
Making Merit by Releasing Fish and Birds

Another way of making merit during the Songkran Festival is by releasing fish and birds back into the wild. I took this picture at Wat Prodket in Phra Pradaeng which is probably the most beautiful place to see this.

Songkran in Thailand
An Elephant Makes Merit in Ayutthaya

So, as you can see, there is plenty to see and do during Songkran Festival. Although I took all of these pictures in my local area, similar events will be taking place all over Thailand. You can follow me on Twitter @RichardBarrow if you want to learn more. I will also be posting live pictures and photo albums on my Facebook page RichardBarrowThailand.