It’s now April and it becomes hotter and hotter. You might have already recognized that Songkran Festival is coming, and we just cannot wait to celebrate it together. In this post, I will help you get ready for this mega holiday and have fun while learning Thai and its history.
Read my blog post “Thai traditional activities during Songkran festival” to learn more about local things to do.
What is Songkran?
Songkran สงกรานต์ starts on April 13 to April 15 of each year as a Thai New Year’s national holiday. That’s why the word สงกรานต์ (สํ-กรานต) or Songkran comes from Sanskrit in which it means ‘approaching by’ as it refers to the approaching of a coming new year.
What to do on Songkran?
Songkran is not all about splashing water or a block party, indeed it is a very traditional celebration related to family and Buddhism.
The reasons for splashing water are to wash away all bad luck and welcome good luck for a new coming year. For me, it fits perfectly with the hot weather as April is one of the hottest months of the year.
As I mentioned, the idea of family is very important for this holiday as you can see that Thai people travel back home to spend time with their family. Therefore April 14th is the Thai national family day.
Besides, Thai Buddhists usually gather together in a temple to make merit, pour water on a Buddha image and wish for good luck as well as celebrate with their family at a temple fair.
Another traditional activity is to donate sand to a temple as an implication of giving back sands because they might have accidentally taken some sand with their shoes when they visited the temple during the year, hence Thai people organize a sand show event with a sand-carved sculpture contest.
Read my blog post “Thai traditional activities during Songkran festival” to learn more in detail.
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Learn Thai phrases for Songkran
เล่นน้ำ /lên-náam/ = to play water (to enjoy splashing water)
Remember? I created a video lesson on ‘how to use the word lên’. The word เล่น /lên/ is to play and can be used for any fun activities such as /lên yo-ka/ as to do yoga, /lên fit-ness/ to do fitness or /lên Facebook/ to use Facebook.
เล่นน้ำกันไหม /lên-náam kan may/ = Do you want to splash water?
ปีนี้เล่นน้ำที่ไหน /pii-níi, lên-náam thîi-nãy/ = Where do you splash water this year?
เมาไม่ขับ /mao mây-khàb/ = If drunk, do not drive
เมา /mao/ = to be drunk
ขับ /khàb/ = to drive
Songkran holidays are the period of danger and death. I am not even kidding. The accident rate rises during these days as there are many drunk drivers and a lot of cars on the street. So please be careful. Learn to play, and to be safe.
verb + ให้สนุก /… hây sa-nùk/ = enjoy doing something
If you wish somebody to have a good time doing something. This phrase is the must-know one. Basically, you say Verb + hây-sa-nùk. For examples,
เที่ยวให้สนุก /thîaw hây-sa-nùk/= have fun traveling
เล่นน้ำให้สนุก /lên-náam hây-sa-nùk/ = have fun splashing water
As the word ‘ให้’ /hây/ means ‘for’, and the word ‘สนุก’ means ‘fun’. Basically “for fun”.
I hope you enjoyed learning the cultural part of Songkran festival as well as improving your Thai with essential Thai phrases used during the joyful period.
Kru Smuk, this cultural reminders should be taught to all Thai people, especially those young ones. This long Thai holiday is one that terrifies me the most.
Hi khun Ken, Thank you for your option. I agreed with you that some young generation might not appreciate the cultural part enough. It is honestly sad to know but I believe there are many people trying to maintain good parts of it. 🙂