Songkran – Thai new year and water-throwing festival – Various Articles


(Photo: Rapee for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: 2005 - Songkran decorations at night



Happy Songkran Day - From Khoasod, April 13, 2010
[This is the only Songkran cartoon we found this year.]

The title reads: Happy Songkran Day
[The rest is a poem.]
Songkran Festival has been blissful,
The water blessing ceremony that cools off the hot climate
Now becomes the saliva war [a war of words],
Fearful of possible bloodshed.
To release the hot climate and sufferings,
We have to rely on kindness for each other
And holding tight to moral peace.
To return a blissful Songkran to every Thai

Songkran - Thai new year and water-throwing festival


Also: Songkran at U-tapao in 1970 [many interesting websites disappeared when GeoCities was shut down. If anyone knows where these Songkran photos from 1970 went, please let us know.]
Another interesting Thai holiday: Loy Krathong

April 13, 14 and 15 are the Songkran holidays in Thailand. It is the hottest time of the year. Families gather and youngsters pour water over their elders' hands as a sign of respect. Buddha images are also sprinkled with water. Another tradition is merit making by forming miniature chedis out of sand and placing small flags in them.

Songkran's international fame comes from the water dousing that goes on throughout the country. Children stand along the roadside to douse passersby with water and talcum powder. Young people get in the back of pickup trucks with barrels of water and cruise around, throwing water at people.

Traffic deaths also hit a yearly high due to a combination of motorcycles, alcohol and roads slick from talcum powder and water. A few short decades ago Songkran was much more subdued lasting 1-2 days. Today it has become akin to Japanese Golden Week with travel chaos throughout the country as people taking the entire week off to return to their homes and drunken young people engaging in all-night 'water wars.'



(Photo: Graham)

Let's be careful out there - April 12, 2008
Songkran one of the most dangerous times of the year for road accidents...


(Photo: Graham)



(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Songkran billboard - April 12, 2008
It reads: Have you paid respects to your parents during the Songkran Festival?



(Photo: Zsolt)

"Songkran No Alcohol" - April 12, 2008
It reads: Have fun with the Songkran Festival without alcoholic beverages



(Photo: Zsolt)

Pre-Songkran parade and "Mr. Thailand" - April 12, 2008
The sign reads: Promoting the Songkran Festival to carry on Thailand’s tradition
[Note the man on the bike in the second photo. The sign on his bike reads "Mr. Thailand"]


(Photo: Zsolt)



Other festivals with a water-throwing component - April 13, 2007

The Philippine's Feast of St. John

Cambodia's water festival

Laos's water festival

Brazilian carnival-related water throwing festival from the past?

Poland's Dyngus Day or Wet Monday

Myanmar: Burma Civil Servants to Remain in Naypyidaw for Water Festival - The Irrawaddy, April 10, 2007
Burmese authorities have ordered civil servants to stay in the new capital Napyidaw during the traditional New Year, while entertainers were urged to join them, according to sources in the administrative city...

Myanmar: Thingyan Time—When Fun-Loving Burmese Douse Their Disappointments - The Irrawaddy, April 11, 2007
Historians suggest that the annual water festival now about to be celebrated in many countries of Southeast Asia, including Burma, dates back more than 900 years and is believed to be rooted in Hinduism...

Songkran goddess - Daily News, April 13, 2007
Left: The Songkran goddess of this year is named Mahothorn-Sama. The fortune for this year is lots of thieves/bandits, bad situations, and farmers in trouble.

Right: Water pistols for Songkran for 7 baht.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Bangkok residents want to pay respect to PM Thaksin most during Songkran festival - TNA, April 11, 2006
People living in this Thai capital say they want to pay respect to caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra most during the ongoing Songkran festival, the traditional Thai New Year, by pouring perfumed water on his palms, according to a recent poll.
The ABAC Poll of Assumption University, conducted from April 8-10, found that the caretaker premier is still the most popular politician, with 52.9 per cent of respondents saying they want to pour perfumed water on Mr. Thaksin's hands and being blessed in return...


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Seniors ride BTS free of charge - April 15, 2006
Left: The sign reads: Let's celebrate Songkran - 13-15 April - Seniors ride BTS free of charge

Official Songkran website - Songkran.net - April 13, 2006
Also: TAT has some info on the religious and cultural aspects of the festival.

Also: Ancient, region-wide custom, The Nation, April 13, 2003
The water festival has been celebrated for centuries in Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, even in Yunnan...

'The gayest of Thailand's festival'
- April 13, 2005
An interesting ghost site is the Internet 1996 World Exposition Thai Pavilion that also explains that Songkran is the 'The gayest of Thailand's festival.' Here: 'Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra clicking an electronic door to open the Thai Pavilion.'

Total abandon is not Songkran - Bangkok Post, April 9, 2005
...What is supposed to happen is that extended families reunite to express their respects to elders and each other by pouring scented water onto the hands of parents, grandparents, other kinfolk and friends, near and far. They are also presented with gifts to make merit and the elders, in return, wish the younger ones good luck, good health and prosperity in the year to come. It is a family affair and the most noble and loving one in our calendar...
To such people, Songkran is a time for getting wildly drunk, non-stop partying, motorcycle racing, drug-taking, gambling their present and future earnings away, taking water-throwing to dangerous and insane extremes with high-pressure water guns and hoses directed at unwitting passersby and moving vehicles, and engaging in outright hooliganism and water torture...

Picking up the bodies - April 16, 2005
Right: Truck from the Portektueng Foundation that helps pick up dead bodies. Note the interesting cartoon stickers--one of the left has a worker carrying an apparently nude worker and on the left a worker carries a corpse tied up in a white sheet Thai style.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
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