Making a splash in Chiang Mai

Six decades ago, revellers made a gruelling bus or train trip to the northern capital for the Songkran festival

Many people think of Songkran as the Thai New Year, but they may be confused as to why it falls in the fifth month rather than the first, which according to the Thai lunar calendar would be about December. It seems illogical: if the calendar year is a 12-month cycle, the starting point should be the first month.

The way it was: Songkran in Chiang Mai. photo: Bangkok post archive

But if we forget the term "new year", things get clearer. Songkran day is calculated according to the cycle of the Thai zodiac, and it is the day on which the previous cycle has ended and the new cycle begins. Thailand celebrates the international New Year but also Songkran.

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