Songkran is the festival celebrated at Thai New Year, which is in mid April (dependant on the Lunar cycle).
The festival has its origins in Thailand’s agricultural heartland, when thanks was given each year for the water which helps to grow the rice that the people survive on.
These days it is a 4 day holiday, celebrated on the streets by people dousing each other with buckets of freezing cold water and throwing a flour/water paste at you. The more “sophisticated” have Supersoaker water pistols and drive around towns and cities in their pick-up trucks spraying one another.
At its best, this is a fantastically fun festival and the locals are more than happy for foreigners to take part. If you are prepared to get soaked on these days (ie: not wearing your finest suit and carrying your expensive laptop!) and know the score it’s great fun. If you take it in the wrong spirit then probably best to avoid Thailand during Songkran, or stay indoors!
At its worst, Songkran can bring out the worst in people. As with the standard New Year, copious amounts of alcohol are consumed, this combined with copious amounts of water being thrown at people means a spike in road traffic accidents. In particular motorcycle accidents soar during this festival.
As I always advise to anyone visiting Thailand, common sense should always prevail, don’t leave that at home just because you’re on holiday.
I have included below a few pictures of a typical Bangkok Songkran scene.