Phuket life; Songkran 2014 – what an experience

Sawasdee Pee Mai – Happy Thai New Year! What a great new cultural experience was Songkran! And I hope I will be able to celebrate many more of these. It’s so much fun to celebrate a New Year with water instead of fireworks {I especially hate the firecrackers!} and to celebrate it during the day instead of waiting for it to be midnight.

 

For those of you who live outside of Thailand and have no idea what Songkran is – a quick introduction: Songkran Festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from 13 to 15 April. It’s believed to be adapted from the Sankriti Hindu Festival and is now being celebrated throughout Thailand. However the most famous Songkran celebrations are being held in Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days! {Maybe a place to be for Sonkran 2015?}.
Songkran marks the end of the dry season – April is Thailand’s hottest month – and the beginning of the annual rain. Many Thais visit their local temple to pray and to wash their Buddha icons; Buddhist statues on house shrines are also cleaned. This cleansing ritual is to bring luck and prosperity for the coming year.
The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water upon others, in other words a HUGE water fight on the streets. Thais {and many many tourists} go around the streets with containers of water or water guns. So expect to get wet when you come down to visit Thailand during this time.
In addition, Thais will walk around with small bowls of talc powder. This is mixed with water and then smeared on the faces and bodies of random passers by as a blessing for the New Year.

In Phuket Songkran started already on the 12th of April – at least in Patong people started to get ready with big water trucks and water guns.

Get wet, or die trying...

Get wet, or die trying…

However the official celebration started on Sunday 13 April. Around mid-day the streets of Patong were lined up with water trucks loaded with barrels of water and people on top of them ready to throw water on everyone in their range.

So on Sunday the 13th we left Kamala with a truck filled with girls (obviously we had to have a male driver to get us around town}, water guns and buckets filled with water. By mid-day we reached Patong, where we got ready for the biggest water fight we had ever seen.

Ready to Songkran

Ready to Songkran

It was total chaos! Water was thrown everywhere from anywhere. Big trucks filled with people where driving through Patong, with Bangla street as the busiest part of the street {well when does this not happen in Patong?!}. Besides water guns, people had big barrels of water on the trucks, and threw the water with buckets to others. I think this is the best way to get people wet! Through all of this people where driving on motorbikes {that must be the scariest motorbike trip of your life!}, others where running around with talk powder, jumping on trucks to give their ‘talcy’ blessings to others, and well… it was just one big happy party!

Songkran in Patong

Songkran in Patong

I think this was the best  New Year’s celebration that I have ever experienced. However, I would not recommend doing this back home, as you would freeze to death with the temperatures we have in December!

TIPS for whenever you’re here during Songkran {and a gentle reminder for me for next year}:

  • Bring or buy a good water gun with loads of pressure {Mine was big and could hold up to 1.5l water, but had just two tiny streams of water coming out of it; not very impressive}. Or even better, bring a bucket to scoop the water over people!
  • Wear clothes that can get wet and dirty {sometimes coloured talk powder is used to smear on faces, which can stain your clothes}.
  • Wear goggles instead of glasses {the smartest move I saw someone doing, was wearing goggles to protect their eyes; will def bring them next year }

Have you ever celebrated Songkran? What was your experience? Did you like it? Or do you like the fireworks and firecrackers with champagne better? 

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