The Songkran festival (Thai: สงกรานต์, pronounced [sǒŋ.krāːn]) is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from 13 to 15 April. The word “Songkran”, comes from the Sanskrit word “Saṃkrānti”, which means transformation or change. The festive occasion is in keeping with the Buddhist and Hindu solar calendar. It is widely celebrated in Southeast Asia countries especially Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. It is also celebrated by Thai and Myanmar communities in some part of Singapore city and Kuala Lumpur city.
The Songkran celebration is rich with symbolic traditional activities such as merit-making by visiting local temples and offering food to the Buddhist monks in the morning, performing water pouring on Buddha during 3 days period and those activities represents purification and the washing away all of their sins and bad luck and people believe those merits can bring good fortune in coming new year.
Younger people keep their ancestors’ tradition by water pouring over the palms of elders’ hands as an important part of Songkran activities. Songkran holidays is well known for its water festival which is mostly celebrated by young people and visiting foreigners in major cities and towns in Thailand. Streets are closed for traffic, and are used as arenas for water fights. Celebrants, young or old, participate in this tradition by splashing water on each other. More importantly, traditional parades are held, where cars are decorated with traditional ornaments. Also, the central festival often holds a pageant contest or “Miss Songkran” where contestants are clothed in traditional Thai dress.