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Songkran Festival April

Of all the festivals in Pattaya Thailand, of which there are many, the Songkran Festival which originated in the north of the country and spread south only in recent times is by far the most popular. It is sometimes referred to as the Wan Lai Na Klua Festival. This is a water festival and be prepared to get very wet for a few days as everyone gets involved. The festival is not only in Pattaya and the rest of Thailand, but also in Burma, Cambodia and the Lao.

Songkran is a Public Spring Cleaning Day, supported by the religious belief that anything old and useless must be thrown away or it will bring bad luck to the owner.

"Songkran" broadly means the entry of the sun into any sign of the Zodiac. It's full name is Maha Songran or Major Songkran to distinguish it from the other ones. But Thai people call it simply the Songkran and everyone becomes involved. It is the Thai New Year, a holiday time.

The festival starts on the 13th of April and ends on the 15th of April, but occasionally in certain years on the 16th of April. The Songkran is in fact the celebration of the vernal equinox similar to those of the Indian Holi Festival, the Chinese Ching Ming, and the Christian Festival of Easter. The beginning of spring when the sun crosses the equator is now on the 21st of March, which is due to the precession of the equinox. The Songkran Festival is in a certain sense like April Fool's Day, when the maids of the village play pranks on any gallant who happens to pass by their way. He will be caught and bound by the united strength of the maids and they will daub him with blacking.

Until recently Thailand was almost entirely an agricultural society and this has been a perfect time to take a break from the business of earning a living. The rice harvest is in, and replanting has to await the coming of the rains.

It is an old belief that the Nagas or mythical serpents brought on rain by spouting water from the seas. The more they spouted, the more rain there would be. So, one might believe that the Songkran customs of throwing water is actually a rain-making idea, but it seems that the Thais don't really bother about way they celebrate Songkran - they just do it for having a great time! Thailand's most celebrated festival is the Songkran Festival.

During the afternoon of the 13th, Buddha images are bathed as part of the ceremony. Young people pour scented water into the hands of elders and parents as a mark of respect while seeking the blessing of the older people. In ancient days, old people were actually given a bath and clothed in new apparel presented by the young folks as a token of respect for the New Year.

Songkran in Pattaya is much the same as other areas of Thailand, if you happen to be around any of the sois you will become very wet indeed. Waterproof your valuables in a plastic bag such items as (cameras, mobile telephones, passports, etc.) or leave in your hotel.

A word of warning during these few days there are many accidents in which many hundreds are injured or killed on the roads. This is mainly due to many people drunk with riders on bikes skidding on the wet roads or having water thrown at them. Originally the head was sprinkled with a little warm water. However, in Pattaya you will have a bucket of cold water thrown at you at every turn.