Thai New Year 2021
The Thai New Year 2021 also called Songkran Festival is a national holiday in Thailand. This marks the start of the Thai New Year. The word Songkran is derived from the work sankranti in Sanskrit, meaning astrological passage. It is a traditional Buddhist festival, and it is usually observed between April 13 and 16, unless an official government declaration modifies the dates.
This year, the Thai New Year 2021 is scheduled to be celebrated from 13 to 15 April 2021.
Like the Chinese New Year, the event is a holiday for the Thais, and the celebration often lasts a whole week.Originally, Thai New Year was held at various times as the date of the celebration was determined on the basis of the lunar calendar, but the official start now falls every year on 13 April. The water festival is the largest holiday of the year and during the event, several family-run businesses and shops are closed.
What is Songkran?
Songkran is the annual New Year celebration in Thailand.
The Thais' New Year celebration is recognised and popular across the globe for being the largest water war in the world, but for the Thais, the celebration is so much more than that. The celebration of Songkran is the largest public festival and a Buddhist custom of the year. Therefore the vibrant celebrations have tremendous cultural and religious significance as well and ancient Buddhist virtues are still an important part of the celebration.
The celebration of the New Year is about saying farewell to last year's bad memories and ringing in the New Year and good luck. And the Thai people use water for that. Songkran is a family festival as well and many Thais, surrounded by their loved ones, return to their place of birth to mark the arrival of the New Year.
How is Songkran or the Thai New Year 2021 celebrated?
Songkran is a colourful festival where the joy of life of the Thai people is in full bloom.
Before the start of the festival, the spring cleaning of the house is a tradition. The Thais clean to wash away the preceding year's bad luck and usher in the New Year's good luck.
- The first days’ traditions
Special rituals are associated with the first two days of the Thai New Year.
In honour of the older Thais, the first day of the Songkran celebration takes place. The day is called Rod Nam Dum Hua (in Thai: รดน้ำดำหัว), and children traditionally pour the hands of the elderly with perfumed water. The act is a message to the elderly of their modesty and to wish them well. When they pour the water on the seasoned palms, the children often ask for the blessing of the older ones.
On day two, the celebration is about family and it is known as National Family Day (in Thai: วันครอบครัวแห่งชาติ)). Being with your family is the most important thing on this day. Families enjoy the company of each other's presence and joy.
- Water festival and the meaning of the water
The Songkran Festival or the Thai New Year is also known as the water festival. As a ritual of washing away negativity from the year before, it celebrates water. People celebrating Songkran engage in a traditional pouring of water that symbolises washing away luck and sins from the life of a human. Some individuals often apply herbs to the ritual bath.
Since April is the hottest month of the year, water celebrations are significant at many levels of the festival. Songkran is however not always celebrated in the same conventional way. The nation takes to the streets in major cities. A host of street parties and water battles are seen in cities like Bangkok.
Water is popular in almost every part of the Songkran celebration, which is synonymous with cleansing and a new beginning during the New Year celebration. Water has a very specific purpose, therefore. And not only because the water is used for the water festival, the largest water battle in the world, which in recent years has become synonymous with the festivities. While many people may think of water as a pleasant part of the celebration, it has a major ceremonial significance as well.
The water is sprayed not only on family members, colleagues and other close associates, but also on individuals you do not know. The tradition of water-splashing is a gesture of wishing away all the negative things that have arisen and embracing the positive things.
But during the celebration, it is not just people who get muddy. The statues of Buddha do too. They pour perfumed water on the Buddha statues both at home and when the Thais visit temples. It is an important religious part of the festival, known as Song Nam Phra. Visiting nine temples during the days of Songkran is the ultimate accomplishment for a Thai during the New Year celebration.
The Astrological relation between the Thai New Year and Zodiacs
The term Songkran comes from the Sanskrit language meaning the movement of the sun from one Zodiac sign to another. That means there are twelve Songkrans each year, but when the sun enters the sign of Aries the Ram, the significance of this Songkran, also called Major Songkran to differentiate it from the others is. Also the specific occurrence was closely related to the Vernal Equinox.
Celebrating New Year at the time of the Vernal Equinox was very common in the past. The Songkran celebration is similar to those of the Indian Holi Festival, the Chinese Ching Ming, and the Christian Festival of Easter.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Thai New Year called?
The Thai New Year is also called Songkran or the Water Festival.
2. What is Thai New Year based on?
The Thai New Year is celebrated on the movement days of passage of sun in the Aries Zodiac.
3. Is Songkran a religious festival?
It is not entirely religious, it is more national in nature.
4. How do you wish Songkran in Thai?
To say Happy new year in Thai language we say -
- Sawasdee pee maï thaï kha / krap. Happy thai new year !
- Suk san wan pee maï thaï kha / krap. Happy New Year's day !
- Suk san wan Songkran kha / krap. Happy Songkran !