It’s wet, it’s wild and it’s loud. Songkran festival is synonymous with massive water wars and street parties. In Thailand and many other parts of Southeast Asia, Songkran is celebrated as the traditional New Year’s Day. Traditionally, people celebrate by paying respects to the elders and visiting the temples to pray or give food to monks. The splashing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, but these days, it has evolved into major water fights and a means to cool off from the heat.
Over the weekend, we celebrated Songkran in Khao San, Bangkok where locals and tourists alike flood the streets, armed with chrome-colored water guns, ready to have a good time. We squeezed elbow-to-elbow with the crowd, getting buckets of ice cold water poured on our heads and chalk powder smeared on our faces. The Thais sure know how to bring in the new year and there’s no better way to experience it than to join in the fun. Here are some photos from Songkran (taken with my waterrproof camera):
People covered in powder and water on the streets of Khao San, Bangkok
Mayhem along Khao San Road
Families and friends get armed with water guns and prepare to have a good time
Alberto and I having the time of our lives
Cranking it up a notch in Yangon, Burma
Just when we thought Songkran in Bangkok was possibly the best festival experience we’ve had, we arrived in Yangon where the street parties and water fights were even bigger, louder and crazier. The Burmese New Year, known as Thingyan, obviously involved plenty of water splashing as well. In the city centre of Yangon, stages were set up along the streets, packed with hundreds of young Burmese, spraying water with luminous green hoses while gyrating to Burmese rock and the occasional Lady Gaga songs. Around Sule Pagoda, there were traditional dance performance as well as clusters of street food stalls and roads blocked out for revelers.
Plenty of Burmese came up to us, shook our hands, and asked if we were enjoying ourselves. I lost count of the number of times the friendly locals shouted as us (the only foreigners on the streets), “Welcome to Myanmar!” We will be spending the next few weeks in Burma – meanwhile, here are some photos from the water festival in Yangon:
People fill up the temporary stages to spray the trucks with hoses and dance the day away
Getting wet on trucks
Underneath the hoses
In front of the Parliament House, streets are closed for the massive water fight
Trucks upon trucks of people are stuck in traffic as they head into town for the epic street party