Southeast Asia Celebrates Songkran, the Traditional New Year
For more photos and videos from Songkran Celebrations, browse the #Songkran hashtag.
Starting this Sunday, communities in Southeast Asia celebrate the Southeast Asian New Year, widely known around the world as Songkran (สงกรานต์). For centuries, people in places like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (also known as Burma) have marked the starting of a new year with this three-day festival.
Rooted in Buddhism, the events held during Songkran vary from country to country. The most common ritual involves large crowds of people taking to the streets to douse one another with water. Splashing water stands as a religious symbol of bringing good fortune to others, but nowadays it is often taken up for pure enjoyment as well as light relief during the region’s hottest month of the year. Instagrammers taking part in the festivities gear up with water guns, goggles, bathing suits and, of course, waterproof smartphone cases to capture the excitement. Other customs include visiting Buddhist shrines to pray, bringing food to monks and cleansing statues of Buddha.