Published on : Friday, April 7, 2017
Every April, Thailand ushers in a brand-new year in stunning, vibrant style with the festival of Songkran – a celebration like no other – from its sacred ancestral rituals to the spirited aquatic games in streets across the country. The use of water holds a special place in these ceremonies: it is believed to grant good luck, bring much-needed rain, and wash away past sins.
The water-play of Songkran is accompanied by myriad other cherished traditions that provide an insight into the rich heritage of Thailand: temple visits, offerings for the monks, elaborate meals with family and friends, the creation of sand pagodas, vivid processions, blessing rituals and local contests. Depending on which part of the country one is in, the celebrations can last anywhere between three to seven days.
Songkran in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is undisputedly the best place to ring in the Thai New Year, with the festivities lasting an entire week and featuring many a unique sight. The old town, fringed by the moat, is the heart of Songkran celebrations in the city, where revellers begin splashing each other with water at dawn, and the merriment lasts until the sun goes down. The surrounding moat is cleaned up and transformed into a convenient refilling station for water guns and buckets, with ice adding a welcome relief on hot days.
Perhaps the most famous Songkran event in Chiang Mai is the spectacular parade held on the first day of the New Year: scores of beloved Buddha images are placed on intricately decorated floats and carried through the city, where they are sprinkled with water by residents and visitors as a sign of respect and for good luck. Other smaller processions can also be seen such as that of the Mai-Khum Saree – a long piece of wood that is taken to support a local bodhi tree. It was under the shade of a bodhi tree that the Buddha gained enlightenment, which is why it holds a special place in Thai tradition.
Thai New Year Offer
Rediscover the cultural treasure of Thailand this Thai New Year with a special offer from Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai. Head into Chiang Mai town to join the spectacular parade with the Resort management team and enjoy the water games with one’s very own Songkran survival kit. After the lively celebrations, return to the tropical haven of the Resort, nestled amid glimmering rice fields and lush mountains. This festive offer also includes plush accommodation, round trip airport transfers, daily breakfast and a special meal credit.