SONGKRAN IN PATTAYA
Songkran is the Thai New Year. Songkran is 13. April every year, but the holiday period extends from 14 to 15 April. In 2019, the holiday was observed 12–16 April as 13. April fell on a Saturday. The word “Songkran” comes from a Sanskrit word for “astrological passage”, meaning transformation or change. The term was borrowed from Makar Sankranti, the name of a Hindu harvest festival celebrated in India in January to mark the arrival of spring. It coincides with the rising of Aries on the astrological chart and with the New Year of many calendars of South and Southeast Asia, in keeping with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar.
In Thailand, New Year is now officially celebrated on 1. January, Songkran was the official New Year until 1888, when it was switched to a fixed date of 1. April. Then in 1940, this date was shifted to 1. January. The traditional Thai New Year Songkran was transformed into a national holiday.
In Pattaya Songkran is officially celebrated on 19. April, but the whole city is literally transformed to a water-war-zone by foreigners, who have misunderstood the true meaning of Songkran assisted by local Thais mostly from the bar staff who take this opportunity to get drunk and behave out of control, from 13. April until 19. April making many foreigners both locals and tourists leave the city and as such badly hurt the local economy. Over the years this truth has been presented to the local authorities and some measures from the police to stop the worst abuse has been applied. However the best solution would be to implement an only one day Songkran “celebration” under the motto: “Songkran is OK – but only for one day”.
Pattaya People Media Group marked the Songkran with a “Rot-narm-dam-hua” ceremony in the office building keeping with Thai tradition.