As mentioned in my previous entry, last weekend was the Songkhran holiday or Thai new year’s. This actually isn’t an exclusively Thai event; it is celebrated under different names across of swath of countries in Southeast Asia.
Every year there is an outpouring of nostalgia for the “traditional” forms of celebration – bathing the Buddha statues and gently pouring water on the hands of others as a new year’s blessing. The Bangkok Post disabused readers of these sentimental longings by printing a selection of archival pictures, showing rough-and-tumble water play dating back to the 1950s at least.
This picture, taken just in front of my condominium complex, shows a fairly typical Songkhran scene:
People set up small outposts in front of their houses with buckets of water, hoses, water guns, or a combination thereof. There is usually music blaring loudly, snacks, and alcohol. People dance around and splash each other and other passers by.
There are also pickup trucks loaded with revelers, usually with a large bucket of water in the back. Sometimes large blocks of ice float in the water, adding a special thrill to the experience. There is usually most loud music and, frequently, alcohol. The trucks drive around the neighborhoods so the passengers can engage in water wars with the people partying in front of their houses.
This is all done in the spirit of good fun, although sometimes it isn’t as fun for those who want to pass by without a soaking. Many revelers take aim at passing motorbikes, leading to accidents as the drivers try to avoid a soaking and lose control, crashing. In some areas of town or on some smaller roads, the caravan of pickup trucks brings traffic to a crawl. And of course with the alcohol, the water, and the number of people dancing about in the back of a pickup truck, there are unfortunate falls.
I won’t be the grumpy farang who complains about the Songkhran celebrations, though. They are what they are. Hopefully, over time, greater awareness will be paid to safer ways to celebrate and the high rate of accidents and deaths over this period will diminish. In the meantime, though, this is undeniably a part of the Thailand experience.
I like the Water Festival in Yunnan, China. 🙂
Here is the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XeOtpQbsDE
I’ve never been. Is it similar to Songkhran in Thailand?
Thank you! If I recall correctly the “Dai” (or “Tai”) people are actually the ethnic group that eventually populated large areas of Northern and Central Thailand.
Looks like good, clean fun 😀
Clean isn’t necessarily a sure thing…
I guess that, wherever you are in the world, a party’s a party—for better or worse!
Accidental tourists like me trying to avoid being “powdered” during this time of the year! 🙂
Good thing to avoid.
Although there is a good chance of someone getting injured, and hopefully everyone understands why they are getting drenched, I think this is a nice way of passing on blessings.
You certainly do have a lot to watch from your condominium complex.
Have a blessed and joy filled Easter week end.
Yes, my condo and the surrounding area is a bit of a microcosm of Thailand.
If I’m carrying a camera, will they still drench me? I just want to take pictures up close but I don’t want my camera to get wet.
Too bad about the alcohol becoming part of the scene. It can be a deadly mix.
Oh yes they will. Important to have your gear in plastic bags.
ah, the memories…very much enjoyed this last year =)