Today, marks the official start of Songkran or Thai New Year. For me, it started at around 1 PM yesterday. That’s about the time I went to an ATM a block away from our hotel. Minding my own business, I was surrounded by a Thai woman with a bucket and two children with water-guns. Unarmed myself, I came back completely drenched.
Songkran is essentially a two-day city-wide water fight. No one is off limits — there is no mercy for old ladies or electronics. It’s mayhem, but the good kind. After being soaked by a water gun, it is customary to smile at the aqua-assassin as they wish you “Happy New Year” with a huge grin.
Why do water-gun wielding parents drive around town with their children hanging out windows spraying everyone? It all started with a yearly washing of Buddha statues, but we’re still piecing the rest together.
Update: We’ve added a few additional pictures of the festivities. The clam-chowder like substance you see on everyone’s faces is a floral-smelling powder mixed with water that is supposed to be added to the water everyone is spraying each other with in a quantity that allows the water to stay clear. What actually seems to happen is that gangs of people with bowls full of a soupy mix of the stuff walk around smearing it on passers-by. Sasha was a willing victim, but others weren’t so lucky.
The smiling faces in these pictures only barely capture how truly joyful everyone seems to be.
Boys resting after many “hits”.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 2:36 am EDT
Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand