|World's Biggest Waterfight|
The World's Biggest Water Fight
If you've never experienced a Songkran in Thailand, you're in for a treat, but be prepared to get wet – and don't trust anyone, the water gun may appear out of nowhere weilded by the person you least expect. Here some tips, make sure your phone and wallet are in waterproof bags, better yet only take the possessions you absolutely need if you are going to wander about during the festival. Be prepared to get wet, and wet and wet again - get ready for multiple changes of clothes. At some point, you'll probably just elect to drip dry.
Be very careful when driving, or being pillion on a motorcycle during Songkran – you are a fair game. Too many have been hurt taking a sharp corner only to be met with a torrent of water in their face and super slick pavement. If you've got a short fuse, either find a deserted island or leave the country. People are going to throw wa- The World's Biggest Water Fight ter at you whether you like it or not.
Chiang Mai is well known for its Songkran activities; in Bangkok, the place to be is Khao San Road, and in Phuket, well, if you really want to get wet head to Patong's Soi Bangla.
Songkran is celebrated as the traditional Thai New Year's from 13 to 15 April. The date was originally set by astrological calculation, but is now fixed. It falls at the end of the dry season, in the hottest time of the year.
Traditionally, Songkran was a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends and neighbours. Nowadays, people roam the streets in pickup trucks with containers of water or water guns (sometimes mixed with mentholated talc), or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and drench each other and passersby.
Thais also celebrate Songkran by going to wats to pray and give food to monks. They also cleanse Buddha images by gently pouring water mixed with a Thai fragrance over them. It is believed that this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year.
In many cities, Buddha images from important monasteries are paraded through the streets so that people can toss water at them, ritually "bathing" them, as they pass by on ornately decorated floats. Many Thais make New Year's resolutions and besides washing household Buddha images, take the opportunity to give their home a thorough cleaning as well.
The throwing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, by capturing the water after it had been poured over the Buddhas for cleansing and then using this "blessed" water to give good fortune to elders and family by gently pouring it on the shoulder. Songkran is also celebrated in Myanmar (called Thingyan), Laos (called pee mai lao), Cambodia, (called Chaul Chnam Thmey), and by the Dai people in Yunnan, China or have their own water-splashing festival. The term Songkran comes from Sanskrit "Sankranta" and means" a move or change", in this case the move of the sun into the Aries zodiac. Originally this happened at the vernal equinox, but, as Thai astrology did not observe precession, the date moved from March to April.