The traditional Thai new year celebrations have just ended. These festivities, taking place from April 13-15 every year, are a time of rebirth, renewal and cleansing, renowned throughout the world mostly for the opportunity to throw water at strangers. The tradition stems from a Buddhist custom of families washing their statues of The Buddha at this time of year, and collecting this holy water run off and gently pouring it over themselves as a blessing.
Many locals observe the tradition of Songkran by dusting themselves in chalk, dancing in the streets or visiting a wat (Thai monastery) to pray and give food to the monks, and gently pouring water scented with orchids over the monastery’s images of The Buddha and the monks themselves.
All over Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai where the festival often lasts 6 days, this tradition has evolved into a fun drench-fest in which travellers from around the world join the locals during the hottest time of the year for Songkran. It doesn’t matter where you hail from, you can fully expect to either be gently led aside by a sweet old lady who will gently pour a cup of water over your head, or a 5 year old grinning while he upends a bucket over your hat. In a period of incredibly high humidity and temperatures hovering around 40 degrees centigrade, young and old grab buckets, hose pipes, water pistols and balloons and go on the hunt. Whether you’re in the back of a traditional tuk tuk, on a scooter, a pedestrian or have the windows of your car open – nobody is safe.
Please enjoy this collection of images of Thailand during one of its most fun and traveller friendly festivals, and have a wonderful, warm weekend.
Roadblock, by SteveMcN
Featured image by apes_abroad