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Songkran Festival 2015

12 April 2015

Thai people are celebrating Songkran Festival, the traditional Thai New Year, with many joyous activities. It is the countrys merriest festival and is widely observed across the nation.
Although this festival of entertaining and socializing covers one week or more in some rural areas, the highlight of the festival is between 13 and 15 April.
Songkran is an occasion for family reunions, as well, when all the family members living far from their hometowns visit their families. It is sometimes compared to the Indian Holy Festival, the Chinese Ching Ming, and the Christian festival of Easter. So it is the time of love and care within the family.
On this occasion, young people pour lustral water onto the palms of their elders as a gesture of respect and present them with gifts. In return, the elders give their blessings to them. It is a time when Thais splash water over friends and other people to give them a New Year blessing.
The fact that April is the hottest month of the year makes the blessings very welcome. There is also a deeper meaning in the practice of water-throwing, which is done to ensure that there will be an abundance of rain for the coming rice-planting season.
The celebration also features a thorough house cleaning, sprinkling of Buddha images with scented water, merit-making ceremonies, the release of caged birds and fish, pilgrimages to holy shrines, parades, dancing, and traditional Thai games.
During the festival, people perform a religious ceremony in memory of their ancestors. Many of them go to the temple and heap up sand into mounds in temple compounds, as they believe that bringing sand to a temple is considered a great merit. This tradition is popularly practiced in northern Thailand.
Thailand abounds in traditions and festivals. The event that may reflect "Thainess the most is Songkran. It is the countrys merriest festival. The water-splashing as part of the celebration has made this event famous around the world, and the festival is sometimes referred to as the "Water Festival among foreigners.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), about 2.6 million tourists are expected to celebrate Songkran in Thailand in 2015. A total of 470,000 foreign tourists are likely to come to "Discover Thainess and to celebrate Songkran in Thailand from 11-15 April 2015. This will represent a 39 percent growth over the same period of 2014. TAT estimates the revenue to increase by 52 percent to 7.5 billion baht from an average trip expenditure of 15,960 baht per person (up 10 percent).
On the domestic front, TAT expects the Thai people to make more than two million domestic trips (up eight percent) during 11-15 April 2015. This will help boost the countrys economy by about seven billion baht (up 6 percent).
Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister
9 Rama VI Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

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