Songkran Celebrations (Chiang Mai)

It was time for another escape from work and having never experienced Songkran (loosely translated as the Water Festival)in Thailand, it was an opportune time to take leave and see what the festival was all about. So it was to Chiang Mai where we went with our friends, E, P, E and J.

While Songkran is all about ‘washing away the old’ for the start of a New Year, I suspect it is also a good time for adults to revert to their inner child!  As a Buddhist festival, Buddhists in Thailand visit a ‘Wat’ or temple to pray and to give food to the monks.  Buddha images in households shrines as well as in monasteries are cleansed by gently pouring a special Thai fragrant water over them.  The Thais believe that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year.  For many in Thailand, it is a happy time.   Stallholders set up little tables to sell Super Soakers for added reach – no one is spared a drenching, even those on bicycles, motor bikes and open air pickups! Pictures you see here (a combination of mine and the husband’s) are testimony to the open ‘water warfare’ 🙂

Songkran runs from 13 – 15 April and is fixed.  I was told by Thai friends that each province in Thailand celebrates Songkran a little differently from the other.  Being up north, the festival included a wonderful parade and it looked like the whole city was out watching it.  Highly decorated trucks brought the Buddha images out and people made their way toward the vehicles to gently cleanse the statues.

And everyone gets into the mood for Songkran, even the animals! While walking past a row of shops, I saw a tuk-tuk driver prep his canine friend for the event by dotting his furry brow with a dot of red dye. What a happy country – Thailand is truly the ‘Land of Smiles’!

We stayed at ‘The Small Hotel’ in Chiang Mai which was well suited to watch the parade, especially since it was on the main stretch of Tha Pae Road.  Wonderful being up on the balcony watching the festivities!  The hotel is a very easy three minute walk to Warorot Market, a brilliant place to eat and purchase local produce.  In addition, it’s also a stone’s throw away from the beautiful wholesale flower market.  I wrote a little about Warorot Market in a previous blog and will not add further to this piece as it’s a story in itself 🙂 So enjoy the Songkran photos and I leave you with a pic of girl power super soakers.  Happiness is having a good soak 🙂