courtesy of Trails of Indochina
April is the month when Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar celebrate their New Year. Traditionally the Buddhist year starts with the first full moon at the start of the month. The celebrations generally begin weeks in advance with children playing games and preparing offerings. The temples are normally a focal point at this time so please expect them to be crowded in the lead up to the New Year. Take some time to consider visiting festivals throughout Indochina with us.
• Songkran in Bangkok – Thailand
This traditional Thai custom of merry-making is the Kingdom’s most ‘sanuk’ (fun-filled) festival, celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm, nation-wide. In most parts of the country, it is over a period of three days from the 13th April. Known the world-over for its characteristic tradition of water-throwing, symbolizing purity, it is also a refreshing solution to “beating the heat” in the hottest season of the year. Prepare to be doused with water!
• Boun Pi Mai – Laos
This beautiful celebration involves a very colorful parade with traditional Laotian costumes, music and dances. A lively activity to witness is the a procession of the sacred Prabang Buddha image and Miss New Year Beauty contest taking place during the festivity.
• Chaul Chnam Thmey in Battambang – CambodiaLiterally translating to “Enter the New Year” this unique festival is held at the end of the harvesting season. The farmers enjoy the fruits of their harvest and relax before the rainy season begins. Throughout Khmer New Year, street corners often are crowded with friends and families enjoying a break from routine, filling their free time dancing and play. Why not try it for yourself?
• Thingyan Celebration throughout Myanmar
The spirit of Thingyan calls for cheer and friendship but be warned that during this time, many restaurants, shops, markets and Museum may be closed. Partake in the water throwing parades which are among the wildest of anywhere in the region, and make sure you try the moant-lone-yaybaw, a rice dumpling stuffed with palm sugar – delicious.