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Thai New Year Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Culture, Travel

Between April 13-15, Thais celebrate their New Year in the country’s biggest and most important festival, Songkran (สงกรานต์ sǒng-graan). The name comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti, which literally means “astrological passing.” This is because the sun enters the constellation of Aries at this time, the first sign of the zodiac. Over the 3-day celebration, Thais all over the country will head back to their hometowns, spend time with family, make temple visits, take part in parades, and of course, get absolutely soaking wet during epic water fights. For a more detailed explanation of this traditional Thai festival, check out our introduction to Songkran.

A Songkran parade on Ko Pha-Ngan.

A Songkran parade on Ko Pha-Ngan.

To help you prepare for the holiday, here’s some useful Thai vocabulary for the Thai New Year:

 

Songkran Festival
เทศกาลสงกรานต์
thêet sà gaan sǒng graan

Thai New Year
ปีใหม่ไทย
phii mài thai

go to the temple
เข้าวัด
khâo wát

bathe the Buddha
สรงน้ำพระ
sóng náam phrá

make merit
ทำบุญ
tham bun

blessing
คำอวยพร
kham uuai phaawn

water sprinkling blessing
รดน้ำดำหัว
rót náam dam húua

parade
ขบวนแห่
khà buuan hàae

splashing/throwing water
สาดน้ำ
sàat náam

water gun
ปืนฉีดน้ำ
bpuuen chìit náam

Happy New Year
สุขสันต์วันปีใหม่
sùk sǎn wan bpii mài

Wish you to be happy
ขอให้มีความสุข
kͻ̌ͻ-hâi mii-kwaam-sùk

Wish you to be healthy
ขอให้สุขภาพแข็งแรง
kͻ̌ͻ hâi sùk kà pâap kԑ̌ng rԑԑng

 

While Bangkok and Chiang Mai may be the most popular places to celebrate the holiday, there are good times to be had no matter where you are in Thailand. We found ourselves on Ko Pha-Ngan during Songkran two years ago and had an absolute blast. Check out some highlights in this short video:

Wherever you celebrate, have fun, be safe, and may you have a Happy Thai New Year!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.