New Year in Thailand, known as Songkran, is celebrated by citizens and tourists arming themselves with brightly colored water guns to fight off the April heat with water. Thai BYU-Hawaii students said every year Thailand celebrates this unique holiday, which is similar to New Year’s Eve and Christmas. Activities range from formal family reunions to city wide water gun battles.
According to Thrillist.com, April is the hottest month in Thailand and this is the time for people to take their water weaponry to the streets and wage hydro war.
Explaining the background of Songkran, Noppon Maneeam, a freshman from Thailand majoring in graphic design, said, “Songkran or water fight festival is something we celebrate during [the] summer time. It’s from 13-15 of April. Not only do we play with water, but we also have family reunions. Just like Christmas where everyone reunites with their family.”
Adding to what Maneeam said, Kris Krisanalome, a senior from Thailand majoring in music, commented, “People celebrate by throwing water at each other. It’s basically a water festival when the whole country will shutdown for three days and just play with water guns. It’s the time people will go back to their hometown, visit their families, and spend time with them.”
Krisanalome said every year he would travel about six hours to visit his grandmother in his dad’s hometown.
A local of Kahuku, Jeff Jones, traveled to Thailand last April to participate in the festivity. Of his experience with the water gun battles, he said, “Whether you’re in a grocery store, shoe store, mall, or cinema, somebody is blasting you with a squirt gun. People run through the streets with huge neon colored super soakers. It’s the coolest thing I have ever been to in my life. I have to go again next year.”
Exploring more into the history and traditions of Songkran, Natsara Ruengurai, a freshman from Thailand studying business management, said, “Traditionally, Thai people dress up in Thai style clothing and go to the temple in the morning to offer food to the monks.”
Ruengurai said people also make offerings in the form of either food or money as a requiem to their ancestors and temples. Contributions go to the temple for construction, repair, and general maintenance. She said people attend sermons by the monks who watch over the temples.
Anciently, people would pour water on their elder’s heads during the hottest days of April. According to Ruengurai, this is how Thai people pay respects. Eventually, these traditions shifted into the water gun battles of today.