Day 1 is known as Wan Sungkharn Lohng, and is a day when the locals will clean their homes in preparation for the New Year. It is also traditionally a day when Thai people dress up, so be prepared to see a lot of dapper looking folks if you plan on attending the Songkram procession that goes through Chiang Mai on this day. The procession is made up of a host of colorful floats, with images of Buddha in abundance. The streets are generally filled with people lined along the procession route, which runs from Nawarat Bridge to Wat Prasingh.
Day 2 is Wan Nao, which is when the locals will start to prepare foods for the merit-making that takes place at Buddhist temples across Chiang Mai the following day. You will see many people take to the banks of the Mae Ping River on this day as they look to collect sand. That sand is then placed in piles with flowers on top, which represents an ancient ritual known as “raising the temple grounds.” This ceremony is done to remember the old days, when the Thai New Year came right at the end of the rainy season in the country.
Day 3 is known as Wan Payawan, and is the day when the Thai water festival begins in earnest. This is the beginning of the New Year, and it usually kicks off with the locals taking their prepared foods to the temples as an offering to Buddha. The images of Buddha that feature in the home of Chiang Mai residents are cleaned with scented water, and that is then followed by the Pouring of the Water festivities, which has become a water drenched, fun free for all in recent years.
Day 4 is known as Wan Parg-bpee, and this is the day when respect is paid to the elder members of Thai society. It is customary to sprinkle water on the elders whilst also wishing them good luck. It is a fitting end to an ancient holiday, but it also marks the moment when all religious and family obligations of Songkram have been fully met. This is often when the water fun truly begins, which means that if you choose to visit during this wonderful 4-day festival, be prepared to get very, very wet.