Monday, April 20, 2009


Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year. It marks the time when the Sun passes from the zodiac sign of Aries into that of Taurus and is celebrated every year on April 13 or 14. In fact, Songkran, which once was not only the traditional but also the official Thai New Year, spreads from over 3 days from the thirteenth to the fifteenth. But in reality it is over 5 days.
In the provinces, it remains an occasion for young men and girls to meet. The season is just right for leisurely courtship, with the rice harvesting finished and the planting of the new crop not yet begun. In the North, around Chiang Mai, sand is taken into temple compounds at this time. It is believed that this will bring good health and prosperity, and that the more sand one takes into the compound, the better. The sand is built into miniature chedi, or pagodas, which are then garlanded with flowers- another good chance for boys and girls to meet.
It is also one of the BIGGEST WATER FIGHTS' you'll ever see in your life! If you don't want to get wet you better not leave your house for three days.

Most of the action is centered around the moat which also serves the purpose of becoming an endless water source to be hurled at anyone and everyone. There are tons of trucks circling the moat with its bed filled with people. They usually have a large trash can filled with water and often the water is cooled down with big blocks of ice. Fortunately, Songkran coincides with the hottest time of the year. The country wide water fight becomes a welcome relief to the scorching heat.

It is a family affair with everybody getting into the action. Unfortunately, the girls are back in the states and I am by myself here. I know next year they will not want to miss it. I felt like a 7 year old boy during Songkran. What an amazing feeling to have a water fight for 3 days in the middle of town. Think of that happening in the States. Surreal!!!!1

This is our friend Melody throwing water on a little kid and vice versa. Melody was Acacia's first grade teacher last year.

The streets are filled with families on motorcycles. Can you imagine get a bucketful of ice water thrown on you as you try to navigate a motorcycle. I don't know how they do it.

This little girl was so cute! I insisted that she throw some water on me and she was kind enough to oblige.

Melody helping fellow Chiang Mai residents beat the heat. Keep up the good work Melody.

This is a view of the moat. The water is quite dirty, but after a while of bucket after bucket thrown in your face you forget to care.

People dress up and wear silly hats like this guy wearing an appropriate watermelon hat.

I don't believe that is their real hair, but I'm not sure.

Oh, man! She got them good! When you are in the back of a truck you are a sitting duck.

Nice throw. I think they were a little wet after that.

There are bands playing and parades going on throughout town. It was such a fun and festive atmosphere. It was like the whole country was a huge Chuck- E- Cheese "where a kid could be a kid". It was AWESOME!!!

It is hard to tell in this picture but I am soaked to the bone. GOOD TIMES!!!!!!
So many of the expats and missionaries living here in Chiang Mai talk about how they hate Songkran because they can't get anything done around town for 3 days. I found it to be the funnest time I've ever had in Thailand. I love it. I know my girls will love it too. Are you kidding me a country wide water fight for 3 days. They won't be able to get enough of it.


transplanting me said...

last year songkran is what changed sam's opinion of thailand! it went from "mom, dad why'd you move me here i hate it." to "this is the best country every!!" and all it took was one complete dousing of water!

Carmen Goetschius said...

Lame ex-pats!! Drop the work!!! A three day water fight with EVERYONE in the entire city!??!?! Freaking cool....

Liking NYC more and more (trying to nestle in)... but I already feel a little restless. Some days I want to settle down somewhere and some days (like when I see pics like this) I think, "You have got to go work internationally-- see this big, beautiful world!!!" We shall see.

Glad you had a wonderful three days! Everyone deserves that kind of laughter and fun!

Brett W said...

Great pictures as always Brett. Looks like fun.

Peter Varvel said...

This is awesome! I remember how good it felt to be splashed and soaked on the hottest days here in California. Great pics, as usual!

1 said...

Hi - It's a nice blog but it's rather sad that you copied the text word for word from page 22 of the book Thai Ways by Denis Segaller. I hope you don't mind if others ignore your copyright notice?