Bring out the water hoses, and don’t be afraid to get a little wet! Songkran is almost here and it’s our favourite festival that marks the Thai New Year, it’s all about making a fresh start – with a splash!
Songkran starts on April 13 and usually lasts for three days, though festivities can start early or end later in some cities. The holiday’s main focus is about moving forward—in fact, the word Songkran comes from a Sanskrit phrase that means “passage of the sun.”
Water plays a major role in the festival as symbolically it washes away the previous year to prepare for the New Year ahead. It’s a time for house cleaning, family gatherings, visiting temples, flowery shirts and throwing water!
Traditionally, it was customary to splash water on family members and elders as a way of seeking good fortune. Today, it has grown into a major event with buckets of water, water hoses, and super soakers used to celebrate and Songkran has now become known as the biggest water festival in the world.
Celebrations take place in provinces across the country and include events such as parades, beauty pageants with contestants dressed in traditional Thai dress, games, food vendors, flag ceremonies, dances, boat races, and much more! You will see elaborately created sand stupas appear on beaches, friendly tug-of-war games being held between families and friends and many different water themed Songkran activities for kids to enjoy, we even have our own FREE Songkran activities booklet with great ideas and fun games for the kids to enjoy.
Sand is typically taken to a local Wat (temple) and sand creations are made in forms of stupas or animals, and decorated with colorful flags, incense and flowers to worship the Lord Buddha. It is a traditional Thai craft based on the idea that you are returning dirt that you’ve taken out during the year. If you’re unable to participate at your local Wat, you can have a go at home. It’s a great introduction to Buddhism and Thai customary life.
Water Gun Painting
Fill your plastic guns with water and a few drops of paint this Songkran. Learn how colours mix and drip when pinned up or sitting on the ground.
You will need Tempra paint, small water guns and/or spray bottles, a canvas or large sheet of construction paper. Mix the tempra paint with a little water (50/50 mixture). Then use a measuring cup with a pour spout and slowly pour the paint/water mixture into the guns or spray bottles. You can use painters’ tape to make any desired design (stripes, stars, hearts, etc.), which will remain white, on the canvas. Hang the canvas outside and let the kids create a masterpiece! Lay the canvas horizontally and wait for the paint to dry before peeling the tape off.
Build a water rocket for summer learning. Perfect for young teens and a great way to combine science with fun. All you will need is some old plastic bottles, char paper, paint and a great imagination!
Ice Cube Painting
A perfect Songkran activity for younger kids. Freeze watercolors and then paint with the melting ice cubes on fabric or paper. This activity is fun for children 12 months and older. Full instructions and image courtesy of ArtVenTurer
What is Songkran without a foam party! This has to be the top Songkran activity for kids as they love the idea of getting messy in bubbles, add a slip mat and make your own wet and wild park.
Water Balloon Games
A great way to have fun and cool down in the heat is with water ballon games. You can buy them from most toy stores here in Bangkok, easily fill with water and then create your own tag games, they break easily when thrown even with light pressure so it can be fun for even younger kids and is a great way to keep cool during the hottest time of the year.
Whatever you do or wherever you celebrate, have a happy, fun and safe Songkran!