Interesting Activities in Songkran Festival

When it is the time of Songkran or Thai New Year Festival, it is the time of recreation and traditional party. Thai will prepare themselves for the good time by doing these:

Beautiful new dresses: Thai people will arrange traditional new costume with various of colors and material especially Thai silk to wear in the Songkran festival in order to show how they are happy and bring good luck in the forthcoming year.
Food and snack to serve Buddhist Monk. The food will be cooked neatly with the high-quality raw materials. This is in order to donation to Buddhist and good virtue. Not only the food they provide for monk but the food will also be sent to their neighbors in order to share their feeling of happiness and keep a good relation.
Before Songkran, Thai will clean their house and also the public place such as street or lane to welcome the good luck. The altar that located image Buddha will be cleaned as well. The cloth will also wash and clean in believe that the dirty as a symbol of suffer and trouble will be leave with the passed year. And the New Year will be clean, bright, and happy.
Temple is one place that needs to be cleaned before Songkran. Everybody in a village or community will gather at the temple in their village in the morning and they will clean the church, Stupa, Buddha image, temple wall etc for the coming festival.

Attractive activities during Songkran Days:
Tak Bart or Give food offering to Buddhist Monks is the Buddhist ceremony for special day. People do this as the sign of good fortune for the new coming year. They will get up early morning, cook the fine food, and bring it to give to the monks in the near temple. Sometime, the temple is far or narrow to contain the huge crowd in the same time, they might invite the monk to some public place to do the ceremony. And to avoid the food they provide is damage or bad, the food can be some dry food such as instant noodle or fish can so that the monk can use it after the festival.
Sand Pagoda: During Songkran festival, people will carry sand from riverbank to pile in the ground area in nearly temple. Once the pile of sand is big enough, they will shape it in pagoda style and decorate with colorful papers. In the north of Thailand Lanna people (Thai Northerner) will insert the stem of the traditional flag (Tung) into the pagoda as well. This is the belief that everyday people go to temple and comeback home after finish their activity, some sand or soil in the temple will stuck on their shoes and this is supposed to be sin as this is not allowed by the monk. So, the sand they bring to pile at the temple in Songkran festival can e replaced those sand. Beside, the sand can also be used to build any building in the temple as well after the festival.

Release birds and fish is one of the merit making activities that people always do in Songkran days. It is belief that release birds in order to gain freedom of life. And release fish in order to have a fresh and cool life.
Taking a bath to Buddha image, monks, and novice to again good fortune. People will offer flowers, candles and incense sticks to the Buddha image first and then they will sprinkle the lustral water to the Buddha image and Wai (respect gesture). After that will be the chief of the monk in the temple who will be bathed by pouring the water over him. After that the monk will change new rope and pray for good virtue to the attendances.

Taking a bath to elders in order to pay respect. In the past, it is actually taking a bath as it is hot season, but nowadays, the ceremony has change to rinse water to the hands of the elders only. The item that usually prepare in this activity is a piece of cloth to give to the elders, some flower, and water filled with perfume.

Splashing Water: People especially youth are the most appropriated to this activity. They will have a bucket or bowl of water mixed with slight perfume to politely splash to each others. In the present day, there are various styles of water pistol produced to sell especially for this activity. The size of the pistol can be small as a palm or the big one that can contain 20 liters of water. This activity is also called “war of water”.

Bangsukul Atthi: It is a ritual performance by monk for the remain of the death. The ashes of the death are usually kept in a container (casket). Some family keep it in their house, some keep in temple or under the Bodhi tree. When the Songkran festival comes, the family will invite monks to perform a ritual. In order to respect to the death.

Where to sigh seeing Songkran Festival:
- In Bangkok the formal ceremony will take place at Sanam Luang near to the Grand Palace in 15 of April from early morning.
- Splashing Water: The most well-known place that foreigner loves to join this activity in Bangkok is Khow Sarn Road. The road will be closed for people to walk and play water during the Songkran day since 13 to 15 Arpil-from 7am to 7pm.
- Sand Pagoda: Chiang Mai and others province in the north of Thailand.