Songkran the Worlds Largest Water Fight

Thailand’s most celebrated holiday is the Songkran New Year Festival. The Songkran celebrations usually begin on April 13, which is the start of the New Year in many Asian calendars, and will last anywhere from 3 – 10 days.

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The most celebrated part of Songkran is the throwing of water. Historically it was a ritual of sprinkling scented water from silver bowls onto a Buddha statue to cleanse the statue. This water would then be collected and sprinkled on to the shoulders of others as a sign of good luck.

Over the years the water throwing has evolved into the world’s largest street water fight. Both Thais and foreigners gather in various parts of Bangkok armed with water guns, hoses and buckets of ice cold water to wage a liquid war. Fortunately April is at the hottest part of the year.

Thais seem to take great delight in dousing foreigners during this time so some of the best areas to experience Songkran are the areas popular with tourists such as Khaosan Road and Patpong. Make sure you dress appropriately and keep your camera dry or it will be a target for the water pistols!

One of the oldest traditions in Songkran is for an older person to apply white paste to younger people. This is the same paste that is used by the monks and is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Songkran is a holiday that is loved by tourists and loathed by many expats, especially those who have to commute to work. Showing up at the office drenched in water and covered in white paste does get old very quickly.

A few things to keep in mind during Songkran is that if you are outside you are sure to get wet. Occasionally a Thai may ask you before they spray you with water or put the paste on your face but this is rare. If you don’t want to get wet, many expats use this time to stay at home or leave the country for holiday.

Besides the water festivals, many Thais will visit a temple to make merit and bathe the monks with rose scented water. If you are not a fan of the water festival, an early morning visit to a nearby temple provides an interesting look at this traditional holiday.

Happy New Year! สุขสันต์วันสงกรานต์

More information on Songkran

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  • kristian

    looks super fun….

  • Alison S

    hey,

    Saw several of your VDOs about the protests on YouTube and was curious about your website so came to check it out.
    It must be cool and fun to just go around and do reports on whatever interests you about Thailand. Anyhow just a few ??

    How do you make a living just doing this (I do see a few sponsors on your website here ….)? Or do you have a day job?

    Where are you from originally? USA maybe ….?

    How long have you been living in Thailand and why did you choose this line of work?

    Where do you get most of your knowledge about Thailand from? Just from living there for a long time, studying it, or some other way. (Sort of wondering about your analysis of the red shirts protest in the context of Thai politics & history overall. Not that it’s bad but we all make our understanding of things based on our backgrounds.)

    I’m Thai btw but have lived in the west for most of my life; going back to visit on a regular basis.

    I do appreciate your work though. Thanks!

    Alison

    • Hey Allison, more videos are on the way but I’m a 1 man operation and this is just a hobby for me so it takes some time to get them online.

      I’ve been visiting Thailand since 2007 and every time I do I learn more about this fascinating country. I hope to learn even more about the Thai culture in the following months as I make more videos.

  • This looks awesome. Since my travelling blog is not ready yet, I noticed the whole thing into a text file so that I will see it when I check my travel plans. However, I should make a better water protection for my camera before (the current one easily slips off). And I should buy a water pistol for the other hand—but usually you have the other hand on the camera lens (it’s a DSLR), difficult but not impossible.

    I will still have some time to make up my mind about this 😉

    • aw… “noted” of course, not “noticed”… (in German it’s note=Notiz, to note=notieren, thus I was confused with the c and the longer word).

  • Nic

    Hi Tony,

    What is the song on the video? I will be visiting Thailand in a week and would like to pick up a copy.

    • I’ve been getting this question a lot lately and I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know the name. I pulled it off the net and the file name is some generic name. I’ll ask on twitter and see if any Thai people know.

      • Found it! The band is called DaEndorphine and the album is called Sounds About and it is track 4. http://bit.ly/9hFA6A

        • edward

          The song name “Cheewit nee san ja tai ( “Life too short”).

  • flyhigh

    Tony, Good work on your footage. I have gotten better understanding from your website on the political situation in Thailand then CNN, NBC, and other major news networks. Be careful and safe in Thailand, keep covering the political situation. How are the people living in the provinces being affected by the political uprise.

    • Thanks flyhigh. I’m glad my site is helpful. In the south it doesn’t seem to be affected but up north it seems that the violence is spreading.

  • Dan

    This is a great view of Thailand that we all love. The people are so nice, helpful. A great distraction from the latest turmoil in the country.

    Thank you,

  • eddy

    The song name “Cheewit nee san ja tai
    Singer : Da Endorphine

    fine link :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EInF3Whauao

  • I think that your video is awesome. Great for a 1 man group. 🙂

  • p

    This is not the biggest water festival. Water Festival in Burma is the biggest ,all across the country. i’m burmese ;P