Next week sees the return of the biggest, most exciting festival in Southeast Asia as the Songkran silly-season kicks off for 2011!
Having fun has always been a big part of Thailand’s culture, and even the scorching summer heat is unable to prevent it from happening. In fact, with mid-April being the hottest time of the year in in the country, it’s even more of an excuse to go crazy as Thais and foreigners alike make a splash in the biggest water fight the world has ever seen.
From April 13th to 15th, every single person in Thailand goes absolutely bananas with street parties and water fights on an epic scale taking place throughout the country.
With teenagers wielding enormous automatic-firing water pistols, buckets of ice cold water and white powder, anyone venturing outside during Songkran is sure to get very messy and very, very wet as water fights erupt throughout the streets of Bangkok and every other city in the country.
During Songkran, three bank holidays are declared, with most banks and businesses closing for the duration, while Bangkok sees a mass exodus as thousands of workers from all over the country travel home to be with their families over Thailand’s biggest national holiday.
Simultaneously, thousands of tourists are expected to fly into the capital in order to take part in the madness at one of the biggest organized water fights at backpacker-haven Khao San Road.
Songkran is hugely significant in Thailand, as it marks the beginning of the Thai New Year, when the annual rains begin to fall at the end of the month. The act of throwing water over each other symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s misfortunes, in order to begin the New Year with a fresh start.
In old times, Thais would simply pour a small bowl of water over friends and family members in order to cleanse themselves; however, Songkran has now transformed into something much more festive, and the bowls of water have become a mad array of buckets, hoses, water guns and just about anything else that can give you a good soaking!
The best places for foreigners to join in the fun are Bangkok and Chiang Mai.