Songkran is the Thai New Year’s festival. The Thai New Year’s Day is 13 April every year, but the holiday period includes 14–15 April as well. The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti – literally “astrological passage”, meaning transformation or change. Major streets are closed to traffic, and are used as arenas for water fights. Celebrants, young and old, participate in this tradition by splashing water on each other.
The Songkran celebration is rich with symbolic traditions. Mornings begin with merit-making. Visiting local temples and offering food to the Buddhist monks is commonly practiced. On this specific occasion, performing water pouring on Buddha statues is considered an iconic ritual for this holiday. It represents purification and the washing away of one’s sins and bad luck.
When I arrived to Chiang Mai, I didn’t want to take a taxi from the bus station to the hostel. I started walking and in about 2 minutes I was completely wet. People were standing next to the road and they were throwing water on people walking and riding around. I had a big backpack on my back and my guitar on the shoulder. I was happy that everything was waterproof.
It was always funny to see someone with water. In that moment, some kind of non-verbal negotiation started. Are you going to throw it on me or not? After some time I didn’t care. It was a nice sunny day.
I went through a street close to some massage salon with only boys in front of it. They were throwing plenty of water on me and then they started to drag me inside. I kept telling them that I don’t want any massage from them and I used my vanish skill to get out of there.
There were people with water guns, buckets, people riding on the back of the trucks and throwing huge amounts of water, people hidden in the local buses spraying on people walking on the pavement, armed tuk-tuks and many more different types of war machinery.
I found a water gun and then I met Alejandra. She bought one water gun as well and then we splashed the Thai guys that sold us the water gun 🙂 We entered the battle zone covering each others back and advancing forward in the SpecOps fashion. Nobody escaped us.
We received plenty of “damage” as well. There was a guy shooting me from the back. I turned around and he covered himself behind the people. This epic battle started. Cover behind people, walls, fast reload, jump, do 360 while in the air and shoot.
I was fighting for about 3 hours, I felt exhaustion, but I wasn’t able to stop. It was just too much fun. While I was leaving the main battle zone, I saw a suspicious guy on the pavement. We passed each other and then after 3 seconds, we both turned and we starting shooting each other 😀
It is a beautiful way to celebrate the New Year like this. In Czech Republic it is common to drink a lot and sleep the next day (maybe even the day after). This way of celebration left me happy, fresh and clean 😀