It’s April and Bangkok is baking in the intense heat that precedes the rains that start in May or June. What better way to cool off than with a bucket of water? Songkran, the Thai New Year and giant water fight, is once again upon us. Songkran is officially held every April 13.
It is a wet holiday and its spiritual origins are that of cleansing and renewal for the New Year. Buddhists will go to the temples and pour a bit of water on a Buddha statue, and they should also visit their elders and pour a bit of perfumed water on their hands. That’s the reverent part of it.
Then revelers take to the streets and stalk each other with water guns, Super Soakers, and perhaps a bit of talcum powder to pat on people’s faces. Drive-by dousings are not uncommon and a few residents will break out the garden hoses for extra firepower. Be careful how you carry your camera!
The entire country seems to pack up and head for their favorite vacation destination. At some points streets normally plugged with idling cars will look evacuated. Trains and flights for the week starting April 10 and ending April 15 will have been booked up for weeks already and buses will fill to capacity. But not everyone leaves Bangkok.
The opening ceremony takes places at Phra Chetupon Wimol Manklaram on April 10 and then the celebration continues until the 15th in the area around Khao San Road and much of the district of Rattanakosin Island. You’ll see lots of smiles so don’t worry much about offending perfect strangers.
[Thumbnail photo courtesy of Wyndham]