Heralding the New Year – Songkran Festival

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Although Songkran, celebrated in Thailand from 13 to 15th April each year is known as a water festival where spraying water on everyone seems to be the primary activity, it in fact heralds the Thai New Year. Coming at one of the hottest months, many people make this an excuse to get soaked and to have weeklong celebrations. Occupying a prized location, Citadenes Sukhumvit 16 Bangkok offers convenient access to important business and commercial locations and fun city activities.

Businesses and offices shut down and half the population of Bangkok leaves for their home towns for long awaited family reunions. Water splashing, besides being a fun activity, is a symbol of washing away the misfortunes of the previous year, beginning the New Year afresh. This is similar to cleaning out houses that is also part of the festival. Originally a small symbolic bowl of water was poured over relatives and friends but now buckets, garden hoses and water guns have entered the picture. The first day of Songkran is also National Elders Day. Young people sprinkle perfumed water on the palms of their elders and ask for their blessings. The second day of Songkran is National Family Day. Many families start the day by giving alms to Buddhist monks. Other Songkran rituals include bathing Buddha images in perfumed water at home and in temples and carrying out merit making activities according to Buddhist beliefs. In Sanam Luang a Buddha image is taken in procession through the streets for devotees to sprinkle water on it.

The wildest Songkran celebration takes place in Bangkok on a 5km stretch of street near Patpong. It is packed deep with Thais and tourists in holiday mood wielding water spraying gadgetry. Fire trucks stationed at intersections ambush the revelers with their powerful water hoses providing a respite from the scorching heat. Elephants too are used as water sprayers. Some Thai communities celebrate Songkran a week later than the rest of the country also with water splashing but tempered with cultural activities. Beauty pageants, food fairs and sand sculptures honouring the Buddha are also part of the Songkran festivities. As a highly rated Bangkok apartment hotel, Sukhumvit 16 offers comforts and conveniences to suit the needs of its diverse clientele.

Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry. Google+

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