Songkran: What Thailand’s Water Festival Teaches Students

As the heat of a new season approaches, Thailand gears up for its most renowned festival – Songkran. This annual water festival not only marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year, but also holds profound cultural and spiritual significance. With 35+ nationalities at Rugby School Thailand, we eagerly embrace this tradition, recognising its value in enriching the cultural understanding of our diverse student body.

Rooted in Buddhism, Songkran holds a special place on the Thai calendar. The name ‘Songkran’ is derived from Sanskrit, signifies ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’, embodying the transition into a new phase. Central to Songkran celebrations is water play, a symbol of purification and renewal. From throwing buckets of water to wielding water pistols, the streets of Thailand come alive with playful water battles, bringing communities together in spirited revelry. Additionally, temples welcome visitors to pour water over Buddha images and the hands of monks, signifying respect and cleansing of the past year’s impurities.

As an international school, we celebrate various international traditions and even hold an ‘International Day’. However, our location in Thailand offers a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of Thai culture – and Songkran serves as an invaluable part of learning cultural appreciation.

Beyond its cultural and spiritual significance, Songkran teaches our students important life lessons:

It highlights the diversity of our community and the respect we have for each other’s heritage.

It showcases Thai arts, from fabrics to music and dance.

It emphasises the art of being ‘reflective’, as we reflect on the past and look to the future.

It reminds us of the value of time with family and friends, and fosters a sense of unity, as we come together for water play.

It is a chance to let go and have fun. After a term of hard work, the school celebrations provide a refreshing (literally) break from a normal school routine!

Like many of the cultural traditions we honour throughout the year, Songkran celebrations enrich our lives and foster a deeper appreciation for the world around us; they are a heartwarming reminder of the unique opportunity international school students have to be truly global-minded.

Rugby School Thailand is an international school for ages 2-18, with boarding from age 10+. It follows the British curriculum with students taking IGCSE and A Level examinations, the gold standard for university entrance worldwide.

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Rugby School Thailand

Rugby School Thailand

Rugby School Thailand is an international day and boarding school, whose approach is based upon the world-renowned British private school model, and whose curriculum is drawn from the best of the England & Wales National Curriculum and the UK’s Independent Schools’ Curriculum. It is the first and only school to take the name of its prestigious parent, Rugby School (UK), which was founded 450 years ago and from where the world-famous sport originated.

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