Colourful Songkran festival kicks off in April to celebrate Thai new year

By Jayden Whitworth

Water-blaster: Water fights break out in Ayutthaya in Thailand in celebration of the Thai new year

This year’s Songkran water festival is just around the corner, with the people of Thailand gearing up for their annual new year celebrations – and Thai nationals in Britain hoping to join in.

Songkran lasts for three days and will start on Wednesday, April 13, and end on Friday 15, with up to ten days of colourful celebration after it.

Songkran is commonly known as a water festival with water fights and splashing an important part of the celebration, but with Covid-19 regulations in place these celebrations have been limited in the past two years.

The first day of Songkran is known as ‘Song Nam Phra’ which translates as ‘pouring water on monks’. This is the day most of the water fights and splashing events happen.

The second day of Songkran is known as ‘Wan Nao’, translated to New Year’s Eve and is an opportunity for people to spend time with their families and friends.

On the final day, the new year known as ‘Wan Payawan’ begins with street food, concerts, parties, and water fights.

Nakorn Supanurat, president of the Thai student society at De Montfort University, said: “There are two ways of celebrating, religious and celebration. 

“In term of religious, people go to temples to pray and bathe the Buddha. 

“Some people go back to see their family and watering their seniors’ and parents’ hands. 

“Songkran is kind of like Christmas.

“It’s a long holiday in Thailand so it would be the best occasion to get back home and see family.”

Leicester has connections and a large following in Thailand because of the Thai ownership of Leicester City Football Club, with the team visiting Bangkok back in 2016. 

But as yet, Leicester as a city offers little by way of Songkran celebrations.

Nakorn said: “I don’t think we have any celebration in Leicester, but there might be a religious celebration in the Thai temple in Loughborough.”

Heaving: People in Thailand flock to Si Lom Road to get a taste of the street food on offer

With the threat of COVID-19 still rife across the globe, Songkran in Thailand is set to be disrupted for another year.

Nakorn said: “Covid-19 and environmental campaigns these past few years has meant there is a lot less water splashing going on.

“Usually, the most famous place people gather is Si Lom Road and Khao San Road in Bangkok.”

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