Songkran - Green Door Enterprises

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[Published on 2011-10-16 in Holidays and Eventsby Jesse Schule]

Songkran

The Festival Of Lunar New Year In Thailand

Festival in Thailand SongkranThailand's Lunar New Year celebration takes place every year between April 13th - 15th, however the celebrations in the Northern provinces can last longer than a week. The festival of Songkran is one of the biggest events of the year in Thailand, for both the locals as well as those tourists visiting from other countries. If you have never witnessed the celebrations of this festival then you might be shocked to see if for the first time. Songkran festivities consist of little more than a giant water fight, with children as well as adults, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers all taking part in the chaos. The entire country erupts into a battle in the streets, with the weapons of choice being water guns, hoses, buckets of water and anything else you can possibly think of using as a means of getting other people wet.

Everyone is involved in the battle whether they like it or not, even the odd bewildered tourist that had not read about it in the guidebooks, and was shocked at what they saw when they left their hotel on the first day of festivities. Police officers are not off limits, and officers on patrol during the festival will have their gun as well as their radio safely protected by plastic, knowing full well that tourists will relish the opportunity to soak them given any opportunity. Anyone who chooses not to participate in the festival will be advised to stay indoors, at home or in their hotel, anyone in the streets during Songkran is running the risk of being soaked.

The heavy consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol inevitably results in several safety issues during the Songkran festivities, with drinking and driving being the most common cause for concern. It is estimated that traffic accidents during the Songkran holiday result in an average of 85 fatalities per day. It is a good idea to stay off the roads at this time of year, as the chances are that many of the vehicles on the road will be under the control of an intoxicated operator. There are also several police traffic stops across the country as part of an effort to reduce the number of accidents, so those who drive while impaired run the risk of being charged.

For the most part the water fights are all good-natured fun amongst friends and family, neighbors and strangers alike, however every year there are a always a few bad apples that take things a little too far. There are a few unwritten rules that not everyone follows, that can lead to potential problems and disagreements. After the sun goes down, it is understood that there should be a "cease fire", as people relax and prepare themselves for the ensuing battle the following day. Many people use frigid water chilled with ice, and this is a sore point with those who are forced to compete using lukewarm water, however it is so common that it would be hard to say that this is frowned upon. It is also common for some people to use mixture of talcum powder and water to smear the faces of their fellow revelers, and while this has long been a part of the traditional celebrations, it is not always appreciated.

Tourists from around the globe who have experienced the celebrations of Songkran continue to come year after year to be part of the festivities, as it is like nothing you will see anywhere else on the planet. Perhaps it is not surprising that when people are presented with the opportunity to act like a kid again, they seize the moment and revel in the playful and fun loving celebrations. Thai people are no stranger to youthful and playful behavior, as it is a defining part of their culture, and foreigners can find themselves learning a lot from this festival, and the history and culture of Thailand.

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