On the surface, Songkran may seem like it’s all about festivities and water fights, but the true tradition of the holiday is all about Buddhism—more specifically, Songkran at its core is a celebration where the Thai people cleanse Buddhist statues with scented water and bathe the hands and feet of their honorable monks and family members to bring good fortune and prosperity in the year to come. The holiday is one centered around the cleansing of karma and attachments, and many Thai families partake in the physical cleaning of their homes and neighborhoods to prepare for a fresh year. Songkran is a time of family, preparation, and prayers for a bright future.
Songkran derives from a Sanskrit word meaning “passage,” and much of the celebration is built off the Buddhist and Indian concept of smoothly passing not only into the new year, but also into a new
astrological cycle . As flowers start to bloom and the cold nip of winter finally dies away, Buddhists in Thailand and the surrounding areas rejoice in the opportunity for a fresh start. Bad luck is pushed away, good luck is invited in, and everyone gives thanks for their blessings in the year that has passed. In cleaning statues of Buddhas and sprinkling water on the hands of monks and novice monks, Thai Buddhists also accumulate merit, an incredibly important aspect of the Buddhist faith. Amid all of the water and fun festivities, these Buddhist ideas are the true root of Songkran.
We wish you good fortune in this new year!