The day's activities include: ceremony & timeless rituals at the temples; joyful, colourful & enthusiastic revelry.
Festivities & symbolic custom in most family homes; street water sprinklings or complete dousing are very evident for youngsters to cool off at the hotter end of the dry season; all in the name of love for family & community to welcome the New Year.
On this day many laymen ordain (minimum of 7 days) in a colourful, elaborate & elegant ordination ceremony full of ancient rituals.
Mon & Karen have their own ordination styles, but generally they both chant with monks & dine together; they pay respect to elders and proceed with others in a procession with families, relatives, & friends, wearing royal costumes & carrying basic necessities of the one ordaining.
Many free activities for children; advice & moral teaching; lots of gifts, games, free meals & music.
Karen, (aka Kayin or Kariang) New Year occurs twice in 2020.
Many locals and visitors spend a day or two in Three Pagodas Pass where, on the Myanmar side of the border, the party is bigger, more exuberant and lasts longer; in the past few years, just for Songkran, non-Thai passport holders have been allowed to cross for the day and join in the fun.The festival includes alms-giving, gift exchanges, paying polite respect to elders, lighting of candles, pagoda visits; all night outdoor entertainment, shows, games and stalls. Simple Krathong floats are made from banana tree trunks & leaves, decorated with flowers and a lit candle, loaded with wishes & worries then floated on the lake or a river in the evening under a full moon; then you watch it float away with it's cargo or wishes & worries; maybe some rice, charcoal, money, flour, incense & candles too for the spirits; elaborate designs are built by groups for fun & competitions. After the rains retreat when the monks stay in one place, they now move around; a procession of lay people carrying new robes and offerings to the temples to express gratitude to Buddhist monks & to support temple upkeep.Highlights of the festival: Buddha statues, monks and lay people are linked by white cotton thread; chanting; making merit (thambun); robe offering ceremony; money trees; festival of lights; sharing of meals; traditional music & dance, food & other stalls.This ceremony is said to originate from the Mon Hanthawaddy Kingdom (1369-1539) when Mon pilgrims drowned on their way back from Sri Lanka.
There's lots to see: Mon cultural shows; Mon dressed in beautiful traditional costumes; lines of pilgrims with honey and flowers to give to the monks; hot air balloons; chanting & praying, floating lanterns, almsgiving, prayers, then breakfast. Tak Bat Devo commemorates the Buddha’s return to earth after the 3-month Rains Retreat.
In the evening they perform 'wian tian' that is circumambulate the temple clockwise carrying lit candles, incense and lotus flowers, a very nice spectacle to watch or join.