It’s always a wet start to the year in Thailand – not due to the weather, but because Thai celebrations to see in the new Lunar year include ancient cleansing rituals, that have developed into a national water fight! The Songkran Festival takes place from 13-15 April, 2013, and during this time of family reunion, houses will be cleaned, Buddhas bathed and kids will sprinkle water over the hands of monks and elders. But this is also no time to wear your best outfit, as Judie Turner explains…
“The first day of my 3-month Asian journey was spent in Bangkok. Unknown to me, it was Songkran, the New Year holiday. I decided to walk along the canal track and was most surprised when several children started to squirt water pistols at me. Having visited Thailand prior, I thought this behaviour was strange, especially all the giggles that accompanied the water jets.
As I neared Koh San Road at 10 am, the festival became evident. In no time I was saturated. As I was required to wait to buy a ticket to Ko Samui, which did not materialise till 7pm, my day was a continual drench – I was hosed, squirted and covered in buckets of water thrown from windows and cars. Seven total drenchings plus a white clay substance smeared all over my face and clothes. But each attack was performed in typical friendly Thai spirit.
When I eventually walked into the lobby of my rather smart hotel, I was an absolute sight. The worse discovery was that my plastic ‘covered’ passport was waterlogged and took me 2 hours to unstick over a lightbulb, using a pair of tweezers. Fortunately the title page and visas for China, Mongolia and Nepal had somehow survived. The remainder was smeared with red run dye. Each border crossing commented but gave me entry and exit. My application for a new passport is in the system, but I will forever remember Thai New Year!”
Have you ever been in Thailand for Songkran? Let us know whether it took you by surprise or were you equipped for the watering down?
* photo by Mark Brown – Intrepid Photography Competition