Songkran is a Thai traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3 days. Songkran festival on April 13 is Maha Songkran Day or the day to mark the end of the old year, April 14 is Wan Nao which is the day after and April 15 is Wan Thaloeng Sok which the New Year begins. At this time, people from the rural areas who are working in the city usually return home to celebrate the festival. Thus, when the time come, Bangkok temporarily turns into a deserted city.
Songkran is a Thai word which means "move" or "change place" as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is also known as the "Water Festival" as people believe that water will wash away bad luck.
The Songkran tradition is recognized as a valuable custom for the Thai community, society and religions. The value for family is to provide the opportunity for family members to gather in order to express their respects to the elders by pouring scented water onto the hands of their parents and grandparents and to present them gifts including making merits to dedicate the result to their ancestors. The elders in return wish the youngsters good luck and prosperity.
The values for community is to provide the opportunity to create unity in the community such as to jointly acquire merits, to meet each other and to enjoy the entertaining events. And for the society value is to create concern upon environment with cooperation such as to clean houses, temples, public places and official buildings. Thais value the religion bye means of merits acquisition, offerings alms to monks, Dhamma Practice, listening to sermon and monks-bathing.
In the afternoon, after performing a bathing rite for Buddha images and the monks, the celebrants both young and old, joyfully splash water oon each other. The most-talked about celebration takes place in the northern province of Chiang Mai where Songkran is celebrated from April 13 to 15. During this period, people from all parts of the country flock there to enjoy the water festival, to watch the Miss Songkran Contest and the beautiful parades.