April is one of the most important months in Thailand as it is the time the Thais celebrate Thai New Year.
This year the Thai people will be celebrating the year 2556 and while most of us celebrate New Year in January, Thailand celebrates the end of the old Thai year in April with one of the biggest parties in the world! Songkran, the official Thai New Year festival, kicks off on the 13th April every year, around the time that the sun moves into the Aries portion of the zodiac. In 1940 Thailand officially changed New Year to the 1st January - to coincide with the Western business world - but the traditional Songkran Festival still takes place in April and is when most Thai people actually celebrate New Year. April is considered by many to be the best month for a holiday in Thailand as the weather is at its best and the Songkran celebrations take place all around Thailand. The largest crowds and festivities take place in Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, but throughout the country tourists and locals gather to take part in one huge water fight. Similar to the Holi festival in India, where people throw coloured water and powders at each other, the start on Songkran is marked with one massive "water war". The tradition started from a belief that pouring water over people on the last day of the year would wash away any bad luck from the old year and bring luck in the New Year. The same tradition takes place today, only with more water pistols and cannons! If getting soaked is not for you then Thailand is still worth a visit during Songkran as it is also a culinary festival bringing people together over food and drink. All around Thailand the streets and temples are packed with food stalls and carts selling the most authentic Thai food available in the country. Though the festival dates back to pre-Buddhist times, Songkran is often seen as a time for worship. Temples all around Thailand welcome thousands of people during Thai New Year, who come to give offerings to Buddhist monks and wash statues of Buddha for good luck. Image sources: 123