Songkran is Thai For "Soak the Westerner!"
Every year, on the Thailand New Year, the country has a massive water fight.
It’s hot here in Bangkok, Thailand.
Really hot. Last Saturday, the temperature hit 36C, which is 97F, but with the humidity, the heat index soared all the way up to 50C/123F.
Even Thai people, who are used to hot weather, have been complaining.
This past weekend, the people responded to the heat wave by having a massive, country-wide water fight.
No, I’m not joking. The water fight is part of the festival of Songkran, which takes place every year from April 13-15. It’s all part of the celebration of the Thai New Year.
The festivities include a water fight, with people everywhere wielding squirt-guns, hoses, buckets, and (especially) super-soakers.
This year, it’s been an absolute madhouse.
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If you step outside, you’ll almost certainly get soaked whether you want to be or not. Smart visitors know to wrap their electronics in plastic bags beforehand.
Songkran is joyous, exuberant, and frequently hilarious — and it’s probably my favorite festival of Planet Earth. For three days, people gather on sidewalks and in alleys and in parks, running up to complete strangers and dousing them in water.
This isn’t Brent’s and my first Songkran. Our first took place on the island of Koh Lanta, where we lived back in 2019. Locals and tourists alike lined the island’s main street to drench each other with water, while fire trucks roamed up and down the street also dousing the crowds.
The only exception was the local Muslim population, which was fairly large in Koh Lanta. Songkran is a Buddhist tradition with specific spiritual implications — in part, it’s about purification — and we were told, “Never douse a Muslim person unless they douse you first. That means they’re choosing to participate.”
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