Songkran festival is celebrated every year between 13 – 16 April in Thailand to usher in the New Year. In recent years the dates have been fixed to fall over the weekend. Songkran happens during the hottest time of the year, perfect timing for a water festival. Initially a time to pay respect to your elders but gently pouring water on them it has now evolved into massive water fights on the streets with parts of the city cordoned off. The throwing of the water on passerby’s are meant to be cleansing, a washing away of the bad and blessing you for the new year. Some Thais may also smear a paste/talc mixture onto your face.
I never knew about this festival until I decided to move to Thailand and I am glad to have had the opportunity to celebrate it this year in Bangkok. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I headed out to Silom Road Sunday evening, maybe a couple of kids squirting me with some water guns. Having low or zero expectations usually means you end up having a great time and in this case I have to agree. It was way more than a few kids with water guns, it seems the whole city came out to play. Apart from water gun fights there were also people on every second block with hose pipes and barrels of water. On every other block there trucks from the fire department hosing people with fire department issue hoses, that is huge ass hoses people, the stream of water is so powerful you have to close your eyes and walk blindly until you and passed the trucks. Then there are the people selling water for festival goers to fill up their water guns, they also join in and throw ice-cold water at passerby’s.
There is no way you can walk away from Silom Road dry, you will be soaked, if you clothing isn’t chaffing you by the end of the evening you doing it wrong. Every couple of minutes you will have talc mixture smeared onto your face (gently, might I add) which will get into your eyes and it will burn, but don’t worry it’s harmless. Never in my life have I experienced anything even close to this but I am so glad that I got to be part of an amazing celebration.