Chiang Mai is the best place to join the Songkran celebration, which is the most celebrated of all the Thai festivals.
From April 13th to 15th, 2017.
April is Thailand’s hottest month and marks the transition between the end of the dry season and the start of the rice-growing season. As such, Songkran Festival was traditionally considered the beginning of the New Year. It is a time to pay respect, let off steam and celebrate. That means you can expect two very different kinds of events during Songkran: crazy, country-wide water wars and serene
traditional ceremonies at temples.
SONGKRAN, LOTS OF WATER SPLASHING:
Songkran takes place over three days, during April 13th-15th, but in reality it lasts a week, especially in the villages of northern Thailand, where children are on holiday and want to play all day. Chiang Mai has a reputation for being the most fun city during this water festival. Bangkok’s parties may be the biggest and Pattaya’s are the longest, but nowhere else sees as much water flying as
Chiang Mai, which makes it one of the most popular places throughout Southeast Asia to visit in mid-April.
One of the reasons why Songkran in Chiang Mai is the wettest is because the weapon of choice is not the water gun, as in the other major cities, but the bucket, which ranges in size from small sandcastle moulds to industrial-scale pails. Chiang Mai also has a unique and easily available source of water - the moat running around the old city.
The biggest party can be found at Thapae Gate on the eastern side of the city. There, you will find several stages set up and an open-air food market. This is also the scene of special performances including the Miss Songkran Beauty Pageant, Chiang Mai’s Walking Street Market and one of the best places to see the procession of Phra Buddha Sihing to Wat Phrasing. Even though the road is still open to traffic around the moat, it is usually blocked with ravers and revellers. If you would like to take a break, the heart of the old city is a much quieter area, with less water players and lots of cafes
SONGKRAN, TRADITIONS & BELIEFS:
Fun is actually just one aspect of Chiang Mai Songkran festival. It actually has a deep meaning and that is to ask for blessing and to enrich religious intentions. Traditionally people would use only a light
sprinkling of water to symbolize purification. As everyone wishes for good vibes, house wives clean their houses. On the other hand, young individuals are showing their respect to elders by pouring fragrant water on their palms. Songkran festival in Chiang Mai is divided in three major days. The first important day is April 13th, which is called Wan Maha Songkran, meaning the day marking the end of the old year. This day is pretty much a day of preparation: Thai people go to the market and prepare delicious dishes for the new year. They also buy equipment for water playing.
April 14th is Wan Nao (Nao Day). This is an auspicious day when everyone must be cheerful, talk politely and not behave badly. In the morning, food and offerings for the monks are prepared and then distributed to friends and relatives the following morning. In the afternoon, sand is brought to the temple compounds and sand stupas are made as a form of worship to the Lord Buddha. Finally the time
comes for gently splashing water at one another with a word of blessing.
April 15th is Wan Talerng Sok (Talerng Sok day). This day is the most important day of the New Year celebration, this is the year when the new year begins.
Important local traditions includes the making of sand stupas in temples decorated with colorful flags (read our article pages 22-23) and Lanna drums competitions (read our article pages 46-47).
1th – 3th April (09.00-21.00)
- Bathing rite of Buddha Image @ Wat Chiang Man,
4th – 6th April (09.00-22.00)
- Poy Sang Long (Thai Novice Ordination Ceremony)
see article page 20 @ Pa Pao Temple.
9th – 16th April (06.00-20.00)
- Religious ceremonies, sand pile making and
bathing of Buddha images and making of Lanna flags
@ Lok Molee Temple, Maninoparat Rd.
10th-15th April (08.00-21.00)
- Sand pile building, benediction ceremonies,
bathing rites of Buddha images and cultural
performances@ Jed Rin Temple, Prapoklao Rd
11th to 15th April (08.00-12.00)
- Celebration ceremony of Phra Singh Buddha,
local market, Thai Folk singing contest, cultural
performances @ Phra Singh Temple.
12th April (10.09-10.39)
- Salutation and worship ceremony to the Head of
Kabillaphrom (God of Songkran)
@ Chiang Mai Municipality
12th April (08.00-18.00)
- All day ceremonies, benedictions, sand piles
making, lanna market and cultural show. Also Klong
Sabat Chai competition @ Three King Monument
12th - 16th April (17.00-23.00)
- Photo Exhibition Chiang Mai 720 years
@ Lanna Folk Life Museum, Three Kings Monument.
12th and 13th April (06.00-08.00)
- Alms Giving Ceremony @ Three Kings Monument
12th-14th April (18.00-22.00)
- All day exhibition with traditional dances, handicraft
workshops, Lanna performance workshops and
Lanna drum demonstrations (klong Sabat Chai)
@ Three Kings Monument.
13th – 16th April (09.00-22.00)
- Bathing rite of Buddha relics @ Pan On Temple,
13th – 15th April (09.00-22.00)
- Water games @ around the moat and
on Huay Kaew Rd.
13th April (07.00-12.00)
- Procession of Miss Bicycles @ starting from Three
13th April (09.09-09.39)
- Lanna religious ceremony inviting Phra Buddha
Sihing @ Phra Singh Temple, Samlan Rd.
13th – 14th April (19.00-24.00)
- Lanna cultural performance and Miss Songkran
festival contest @ Three Kings Monument.
13th April (13.30-18.00)
- Phra Buddha Sihing Procession @ from San Pha
Kroi to Phra Sing Temple
14th April (13.30-17.00)
- Sand piles building and Kham Salee (Holy Stick)
procession @ From Iron Bridge to temples
on Thapae Rd
15th April (13.30 -18.00)
- The very important parade by hundreds of villagers
from Chiang Mai and surroundings cities presenting
their respects and gifts to Chiang Mai’s mayor.
@ from Kang Vieng Intersection (old city) to mayor’s
17th April (09.00-22.00)
- Worship ceremony for the Lanna Ancestors and
Royal family members @ Suandok Temple