Songkran is the most popular festival in Thailand that marks the beginning of the new solar year and the start of the summer season. The word "Songkran" comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti, literally "astrological passage," meaning transformation or change. It is usually celebrated by splashing water at family, friends and passers-by. This symbolizes washing off of all misfortunes in the past year and welcoming the New Year with a fresh new start. Thai families often come together to prepare flower garlands and washes the hands of their elders with scented water to wish then a long and healthy life.
The event officially opens with a traditional Buddha blessing ritual. This is performed by pouring water on the Buddha icon, which symbolizes purification and the washing away bad luck.
Songkran is also celebrated in the Philippines and is organized by the Royal Thai Embassy in Manila. Check out photos from this year's celebrations.