Songkran is a centuries-old festival which marks the beginning of the traditional Thai new year. It is a unique fun-filled event during which we splash others with water in order to give and request a blessing.
The word "Songkran" is derived from Sanskrit and means "to pass" or "to move into". It implies the moving of the sun, moon and other planets into a new place in the zodiac. People in Burma, Cambodia and Laos organise similar festivals at this time of the year.
Freed from routine work for a few days, Thais have the time to perform various rites designed to show respect to their forebears and senior members of the family. Highlights include sprinkling the hands of their elders with scented water, pouring scented water on Buddha statues and joining in family reunions.
This year, Great Songkran Day falls on April 14 and the designated symbol is Kirini Thewi, a lady who sits on an elephant's back, wears a montha flower behind one ear and has an armlet on her right arm and a gun in her left. Every region in the country will be celebrating the festival under the common theme of "Love Songkran in Your Home Town".