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Songkran - Welcoming the New Year in Style

by Naveen Marasinghe

Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year festival that is celebrated during the middle of April. The name Songkran is actually derived from Sanskrit and means astrological passage. As the name it self implies the Thai New Year is celebrated when the sun passes through a certain Zodiac sign.

The Thai New Year is also known as the "Water Festival", because it is common practice for thousands of locals to gather in certain areas of the city and sprinkle water on Buddha statues while also drenching passersby. Though this was not always the main activity of the festival, rather it was more centered upon paying respects to relatives, parents and religious teachers, today many Thai's roam around the streets armed with water guns and contains some eve n post themselves at the corner of the street with a garden hose and soak neighbors and other random passersby.

The water throwing is believed have originated from a traditional form of greeting where it was considered respectful for a small amount of water to be sprinkled on a visitor's shoulder. A number of Thais also visit Buddhist temples or Wats to engage in pious religious observances. A number of events connected to Songkran are usually organized in Bangkok.

Among them the official Songkran rituals are performed at the Grand Palace, a sacred Buddha statue is brought out and paraded around the streets in a colorful procession. San stupas are made and topped off with colorful flags and flowers; these are usually seen in temples. An annual "Songkran Queen" beauty pageant is also held in Bangkok, accompanied by a colorful parade.

Traditional delicacies made especially for the season are usually served to guests during this period, many Bangkok hotels, restaurants and eateries also sell these delicious dishes to their consumers. Bangkok's numerous bars and clubs also join in the festivities by hosting special parties for locals and tourists during this period. Most of these parties feature popular local and international artists and great DJ's, come prepared to get drenched at these water themed parties.

Tourists staying in Bangkok during the Songkran can opt to say at a Bangkok serviced apartment such as the Royal President.

About the author: Naveen Marasinghe is an Online Marketing Executive at eMarketingEye which is a search engine marketing company that offers integrated Internet marketing services and specializes in hotel Internet marketing industry

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