The Songkran Festival is a national holiday in Thailand. It is one of the biggest and one of the most important festivals throughout the country. It marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. The word Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit, which means Astrological Passage. It is a traditional Buddhist festival, and this year it is celebrated from 12 to 16 of April.
Songkran Festival always involves mass water spectacle, and is intended to wash away all the bad luck and bad deeds and sins of the past year. The major events of the Water Festival occur on the main pedestrian streets of Thailand’s cities. The sidewalks are occupied with drums filled with water and garden hose, from which the “enthusiasts” pour water on passers by. Roads also become the arena of water “battles.” Powerful jets of water guns and buckets rain down on the people from pick up trucks.
Whilst enjoying the Songkran Festival in Thailand, stay at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok and be amazed how Thai people celebrates the New Year. It’s all fun and lots of water involved on this festivities.
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok creates a special celebration for Songkran wherein the guests can be involve in the festivities too.
Preparations are underway in Cambodia as the whole country approach the Cambodian New Year, known locally as Choul Chnam Thmey (literally Enter New Year), which will take place this year on Saturday 14 April, Sunday 15 April and Monday 16 April.
The official holiday lasts for 3 days, to celebrate the end of the harvesting season, so farmers can take a break before the rainy season begins. Families across the country get together, usually in their home villages, play traditional games and enjoy the occasion with family members and friends.
There is an annual celebration in Siem Reap, known as Angkor Sankranta 2018, a giant festival to ring in the Khmer New Year over four days from 13 to 16 April, and is held at the Temples of Angkor complex. Last year’s event attracted 1.7 million visitors, so be prepared if you are coming to Siem Reap this year – it will be very busy. There are plans to display a giant Hanuman mask and the longest-ever Cambodian scarf, as well as more than 30 entertainment programmes to inspire solidarity in the preservation and development of the Khmer cultural identity.
Embrace the New Year at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra and immerse in a luxurious haven of tranquility and French colonial elegance.
Myanmar New Year is a Buddhist festival at root, but it also has connections with Hinduism and is, in fact, the Buddhist version of the Hindu myth of Arsi and Devas. The myth involves a wager between two gods, the loser losing his head but gaining the head of an elephant. But to stop this new head from drying up the sea or scattering fire-shots through the heavens, it was taken away and given to a new princess devi at the beginning of each new year.
Also called Thingyan Festival, which lasts for four days from 13-16 of April, marks the end of the hot, dry season and the imminent arrival of the New Year in Burma. Traditionally, Burmese celebrate this holiday on the streets with fun water fights, uniting children and adults.
On the last day people show mercy by releasing fish and birds into the wild, as well as treating the monks with a lavish feast. Families feast and get together, and visit the nearby pagoda to pay respect, led by the elders.
Stay at The Strand Hotel, and get the best of Burmese New Year right in the center of Yangon.
No fireworks or fancy family dinners, nor gifts, or loud parties, but rather a temple worship, splashing water, and street food when this major holiday is celebrated in Laos.
Lao New Year is commonly referred to as Pi Mai or Songkran. For most Lao people, this holiday is celebrated from April 14 to April 16. In some areas of Laos, the festival can go on for an entire week.
The first day of the festival is New Year’s Eve, and the last day marks the beginning of the new year. According to Lao traditions, the second day of the festival is in between the new and old years. For most people, Lao New Year is a time of joy and new beginnings.
Because of Laos’ rich history and Buddhist practices, Lao New Year is observed with many traditions and celebratory activities:
To bring good fortune, Lao people often bring sand to temples for the monks. At the temples, the monks create stupas, or mounds of sand. These mounds of sand are decorated with patterns of flowers and intricate carvings. Lao families may also go to beaches to create their own stupas.
On the second day of Lao New Year, school-age children are expected to cleanse their homes and loved ones with water. After they douse their elders with water, students go to temples to cleanse monks. The cleansing water is often perfumed with flowers or cologne. According to traditional Lao beliefs, this cleansing with water promotes longevity and peace. After the elderly and monks are cleansed, the students have some fun by dousing their friends with water. Playful fights with water guns and balloons are also common. Along with water cleansing, homes are cleaned by families. This helps eliminate the clutter from the past year.
Since most Lao people are Theravada Buddhists, granting freedom to animals is a common practice during Lao New Year. In addition to freeing birds and other animals from cages, monks will pray for the release of captive humans.
Like many other holidays, decorations are an important aspect of Lao New Year. To show respect for Buddha, monks in Lao temples will decorate images and statues of Buddha with flowers. These flowers are always freshly picked and washed before they are placed on a representation of Buddha. This process is overseen by senior monks.
In small towns and villages, communities gather to sing traditional songs. These songs are often accompanied by instrumental music and circle dances.
While most holidays in East and Southeast Asia are not oriented around food, Lao people enjoy hearty traditional meals on the final day of the festival. One of the most popular dishes consists of sticky rice with padaek. Padaek is fermented fish sauce that is commonly eaten by Lao families. This dish is usually served with roasted mushrooms. Fish stews are also popular in Laos during New Year celebrations.
Feel the vibe and stay at Amantaka Resort, Luang Prabang by Aman Resorts, and experience Lao New Year in a century-old manner amidst the spiritual sanctuary. Luang Prabang is a place of serenity, beauty and escape on the peninsula between the lush banks of the Khan and Mekong Rivers.