Phuket is a fun and exciting place to visit at any time of the year but by far the most exciting time is from the 13th to the 15th of April during the Songkran Festival when the Thais celebrate their traditional New Year.
The now fixed date of the Thai New Year was originally set by astrological calculations and until 1888 Songkran marked the beginning of the New Year. From that time, until 1940, the 1st of April officially marked the start of the New Year, but today, January the 1st is used. Despite the change official dates Songkran is still the Thai New Year National Holiday and the celebrations, which are said to have been adapted from an Indian festival, enthusiastically take place all over Thailand.
Songkran is becoming and increasingly popular time to visit Thailand and many visitors look forward to joining in with the festivities that, in some parts of the country, most famously Chiang Mai, go on for six days.
The traditional greeting at this auspicious time of year is สวัสดีปีใหม่” (sa-wat-dee pee mai) and was traditionally celebrated by visiting respected elders, family members, friends and relatives as well as giving prayer and food to monks and cleansing Buddha images and household shrines with water and Thai fragrance to bring about good luck and prosperity.
Although traditional celebrations are still observed in many parts of the country, more typically, these days, the New Year is welcomed by wildly enthusiastic water fights where locals and visitors alike roam the streets armed with water guns and buckets of water, that are often mixed with ice and mentholated talcum powder, to drench passers by. Pick-up trucks, packed with enthusiastic adults and children, armed with water pistols, carry barrels of water around the island and household hose pipes are on full blast during the lively celebrations to ensure everybody gets refreshingly soaked during this colourful festival that falls at the hottest time of the year.
Songkran is a unique, fun and unforgettable festival and a great time to enjoy Thailand and its people at their best. Fun, or Sanuk in Thai, is the key to understanding this charming race of people who try to make everything fun and never more so than at this time of the year.
Why not celebrate the Thai New Year this year, which will be 2555 due to the 543 year difference between the Buddhist and Gregorian calendar, by visiting www.luxuryvillaphuket.net and choosing from a superb range of villa accommodation that will allow you to join in with the celebrations in style.