Monday, April 16, 2007

Water Water Everywhere

If it’s April in Thailand, you can count on two things. One - it will be hot and Two - it will be wet!

No, not from the monsoons (they come in June) but rather from the Thai New Years Celebration called Songkran. In Thailand, we celebrate three different New Years. January 1st (Western), Mid February (Chinese) and April (Thai).

Although the celebrations involve religious ceremonies at Temples (Wats) what most Westerners see is the spectacle of throwing water on the streets.

The throwing water part was originated as a way to pay respect to people, by pouring a small amount of water on other people’s hands as a sign of respect. Today, young people splash others with water to relieve the heat and that has evolved to water fights and splashing water to people on vehicles.

On every street corner, you’ll see kids with hoses, buckets of water and high pressure water pistols spraying passersby. If you are smart, you keep your wallet and cell phone secured in zip lock sandwich bags for the duration of the celebration.

Think of it as kind of a Thai Mardi Gras, but instead of throwing beads, they throw water!

Of course, the New Years celebration is not just about throwing water, it is a time of spiritual renewal and spending time with family, and just like other New Years around the rest of the world, making resolutions that you will never keep!

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