(Slideshow updated with additional photos.) Elmhurst, in April, is not as dependably warm as Thailand.
For Songkran — the Thai water festival that marks the Buddhist New Year — there's little of the traditional "water play" that soaks friends and strangers alike. (The afternoon of the 2015 celebration was warmer and more "playful" than usual.) One tradition that does carry on at Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram, however, is the building of sand stupas. These are meant as symbolic compensation for the dirt that congregants have carried away from the temple, on the soles of their feet, during the past year.
Another tradition is the food. As during autumn's Royal Kathin Celebration, the offering of respects to the temple, and the monks, is accompanied by food prepared by congregants and Thai restaurants. All are welcome to partake, bearing in mind the spirit of the occasion. A donation to the temple is welcome, too.
See a slideshow of photos from multiple years of the festival.
Songkran Festival at Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram
76-16 46th Ave. (76th-78th Sts.), Elmhurst, Queens
(The 2015 festival was held on April 12)