The Thai people are known to be friendly, fun-loving, and easy-going people. Perhaps no other event exemplifies this characteristic better than the Thai New Year festival of Songkran. During this time, Bangkok city turns into one big water festival. At every nook and street corner, you'll find groups of people armed with water pistols, hoses, and large tubs of water with the single-minded goal of dousing passerbys. There's no escaping this water attack - you will get soaked and that too, repeatedly! The water symbolizes the washing away all sins and bad luck from the year before and purifies you for the start of a new year. This glorified water fight couldn't have been better timed. This is also around the time of year when Bangkok heat starts to become stifling, and the cool water offers a much needed respite.
It has been several years since I happened to be in Bangkok for Songkran, and I had almost forgotten how much fun (or painful, depending on how much you appreciate being put through a veritable rinse cycle) it can be! The other day, I happened to walk along the streets and captured a few candid shots of Songkran revelry. Unsuspecting tourists and locals alike, no one was safe from the water wars going on around town. I'm of the belief that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And if you're a true Bangkokian, you will join them! After taking a few pictures from a safe and dry distance, I set my camera aside. I walked up to some people holding a water hose and said, "Hit me!" in Thai. A few seconds later, I was dripping wet down to my shoes!
On a side note, Songkran marks the beginning of spring and the harvest season. Songkran is believed to be derived from the Sanskirt term sankranti and coincides with many other spring festivals in India, like Vaisakhi and Gudi Padwa. Some compare Songkran to Holi but without the use of rang. Whatever it is, it's one hell of a fun time where adults and children alike join in on some good natured mischief-making!
Note: The first two pictures have been taken from other sources but the rest taken by yours truly.
|Songkran turns into a foam party too (source)|
|I wish I could have witnessed this in real life! (Source)|
|Just because they're little girls doesn't mean they can't play hard!|
|Hey! Come join us!|
|A water and dance party happening on the streets|
|A tuk tuk, a tourist, and a water gun|
|Beware the person who holds a water rifle on a speedy motorcycle|
|Old uncles know how to have fun too!|