Songkran is Thailands New Year’s national holiday and is one of the countries most famous festivals. Songkran occurs on the 13th of April each year but the national holiday period extends until the 15th of April.
Songkran came from a Sanskrit word which means passing and approaching. Songkran festival has many symbolic traditions. It is common for many to offer food to Buddhist monks and water poring is performed on Buddha statues and the young and elderly to represent purification and the washing away of sins and bad luck. The holiday is also well known for its water festival where all ages, you and old, celebrate by splashing water on each other. Traditional paraded also take place at some locations and ‘Miss Songkran’ pageants occur where contestants are dressed in traditional Thai clothing.
Each year the Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon, London celebrates Songkran with a vibrant event. There are Buddhist Chanting and Alms-giving Ceremony, with performances of Thai instrumental music by Thai Music Circle, Thai Dancing such as Rum Wong Songkran, Umbrella Dance, Blessing Dance and Welcome to Thailand Dance by Thai Arts and Cultural Centre, plus pageants to crown the ‘Young Miss Songkran’ and ‘Adult Miss Songkran’.
Festival goers are also given the opportunity to sample a huge variety of authentic Thai foods in the bustling food market.
Credit Photo: patcharaphol pongvijit