The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day. It is a three day festival starting from 13 to 15 April 2012.
There is a 543 years difference between the Buddhist calendar and the Gregorian calendar, so the year 2012 becomes year 2555 in Thailand.
Songkran has traditionally been celebrated as the New Year for many centuries, and is believed to have been adapted from an Indian festival. It is now observed nationwide, even in the far south. However, the most famous Songkran celebrations are still in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days and even longer. It has also become a party for foreigners and an additional reason for many to visit Thailand for immersion in another culture.
Ccelebrations of Songkran include throwing of water. Thais roam the streets with containers of water or water guns (sometimes mixed with mentholated talc), or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and drench each other and passersby.
On Thailand New Year’s Day, Thais pray to the Buddha, clean temples and houses, offer alms to the monks and sprinkle scented water on elders as a mark of respect.
2012 Thai New Year will be the time for special food. The Khao Chae is a rice dish and Gaeng Kiew Wahn Gai is a Chicken in green curry is must for the New Year in Thailand.
Songkran Greetings and Wishes :
The traditional greeting is “สวัสดีปีใหม่” (sa-wat-di pi mai), basically “Happy New Year”. Sawatdi is also used for “hello” or “goodbye”. Pi and mai mean “year” and “new” respectively in Thai. Another greeting used is “สุขสันต์วันปีใหม่” (suk-san wan pi mai), where suksan means “happy”.
However, most people use “สุขสันต์วันสงกรานต์” (suk-san wan songkran) — meaning “Happy Songkran Day.