Songkran is the celebration of the Buddhist new year. Originally, my friends tell me that it started as a time when people were blessed by monks. The monks would splash a little water on each person to signify that the year ahead would be blessed.
Eventually, the celebration morphed into a city-wide water fight. Many cities in Thailand essentially shut down from April 13-15, as the Thai people celebrate the new year. These celebrations – or city-wide water fights – attract tourists from all over the world to join in the festivities. It’s a time of fun. Celebration. The old year is gone, the new has arrived, and should be welcomed.
Bangkok actually held the world’s largest water pistol fight this year – I feel like that could have been epic fun.
But my city was wonderful. Friends and I tie-dyed t-shirts and went out around where most people play in the water. We had a grand time with our water buckets and squirt guns.
We got to an area where local businesses had set up booths, with DJs, dancing, and major water squirt-age. We could barely make it through the crowd, as locals and foreigners alike guzzled beer, sloshed water all over friends and strangers and listened to blaring techno beats.
It was so much fun – me and my friends started a flash mob. The drunken crowd watched as we all danced together, and actually started dancing with us. Definitely was a surprise for us, cause we never expected to be trend-setters. I mean, we’re a bunch of missionaries hanging out with our Thai friends. The best part though is that we’ll remember how much fun we had, when many of the other partiers will be nursing hangovers.
I found it frustrating to be a foreigner though, during this time. Drunkenness brings out a whole new low in the way that some foreigners act.
A few of us went to find a bathroom and separated from the group. We were cornered by a very drunken foreigner yelling – the whole time spraying water into our eyes – “You messed with the wrong ^%%$*#^$!&%&*^@&#%@(&%$(@%!” She continued to do that to every person who passed her, screaming obscenities at them.
That kind of thing is frustrating to encounter, but is thankfully not so prevalent.
Ultimately, Songkran was great this year. Totally loved it. I actually ended up on Thai TV, dancing in the crowd with a few of my good buddies. It was really the kind of clip that is just embarrassing, but still….
I WAS ON TV.
It was just great to hang out with friends and enjoy a little down time.
…and now, back to the daily grind.