Imagine being transported back in time to your childhood when the only care in the world you had was where the next water balloon was coming from and when you would have time to refill your water gun. Remember those good times and then get ready to relive that moment (or rather make a new one) at the Songkran festival.
The symbolic celebration of the Thai New Year has become the world’s wettest water fight. Traditionally the festival was about purification and starting anew. Recognized for its cleansing ability, water was (and still is) the main attraction. In the past, houses would be cleaned, statues of the Budda would be bathed with scented water and elders of the village would be shown respect by having water poured over their heads.
As time went on, and people started to realize how much fun could be had splashing complete and random strangers for no other reason than to escape the heat of summer, the methods (but not the meanings started to shift.
While the spirit of the festival is all in good fun, there are still some rules that you’ll need to be aware of. To enjoy the most of what Songkran has to offer and to keep the fun going for as long as possible there are some simple dos and don’ts that everyone should follow.
What To Do
- Do take part in the Buddhist tradition of giving alms
- Do be mindful of your belongings and protect them from getting wet
- Do take public transportation to Songkran ‘hotspots’ and avoid the traffic
- Do learn the Thai phrase for Happy New Year – ‘Sah wah dee pee mai!’
- Do stay cool (and with all the water around that should be fairly easy)
What NOT To Do
- Do not throw water the elderly, monks or babies
- Do not drink drive even if you think you’ll be fine
- Do not throw water containing ice and only use clean water
- Do not douse motorcyclists – in order to keep the road safe
Just like in your childhood memories, you wish the water fight would never end, and luckily, it doesn’t really have to. Songkran runs for three days straight from April 13th to April 15th in 2015 and take place in many cities around Thailand – the epicentre being Chiang Mai at the old city moat and the Tha Pae Gate.
Why not party in a water fountain?
You Will Get Wet – Very Wet!
Expect massive crowds of people in attendance and traffic backed up bumper to bumper for the next 2 miles. The festival has claimed the lives of many smart phones to date and next year will be no exception so make sure your devices are stored in a safe place before you leave for the most fun you’ll ever have.
If you’re a newcomer or a veteran, don’t expect to stay dry either. There will be no mercy for anyone and most likely, the more you object the more saturated you will become! The best thing to do is just accept it and let it happen.