Wednesday Write-up: A Wet Songkran

This past Sunday was the beginning of Songkran, the Thai New Year, here in Thailand. Songkran is a country-wide water fight held every year from April 13th-15th. Depending on where you live (or are visiting) in Thailand, the celebrating can last one day to 6 days. In Phuket we celebrate it one day, the first day of Songkran on the 13th, whereas in Chiang Mai it lasts for 6 days at least.

This was my first Songkran. I have been to Thailand many times in the past, but have never timed it right to be here when the water fights were happening. I decided that I would write today about what we did on Sunday. Chad is going to write a helpful post on Friday to help you if you choose to visit Thailand for this fantastic party, so make sure to check it out, follow, and share if you would like to.

On Saturday, our friends and neighbors started a water fight to prepare for the big day. We tested out our massive water guns on each other, as well as on some of the neighborhood kids. We were all drenched and laughing. Z proved to be quite a good aim with the garden hose. It was a good way to get her (and me) prepared for the public water fights the next day.

Z getting ready for the next days festivities.
Z getting ready for the next days festivities.

For Sunday, we had made plans to hang out with our friends, who have a little girl near the same age as Zoë. We arrived at their place with swimsuits and sunscreen on, towels in tow, and beers chilling on ice.

We started on our drive at around 11 am. The boys started off in the back of the truck to assess the craziness of the water fights before we let the girls partake in the festivities. I sat inside the truck to try to take some pictures. All of us girls listened to music, talked, and laughed at all the people getting doused with water along the way. That includes our guys in the back, who were soaking wet within minutes of starting our drive.

Never have I seen anything like the Songkran water fights. Cars, trucks, and scooters were crawling down the streets that were lined with people throwing water from containers of all sizes. I tried to get good pictures, but it was difficult from the cab of the truck, and there was no way that I could have gotten pictures outside of the truck without having Chad’s camera ruined with a wayward splash. So I am going to let Chad use most of them in his post on Friday.

A truck full of people ready to soak everyone around them.
A truck full of people ready to soak everyone around them.

After one trip going from Rawai to Nai Harn we stopped to refill our water tanks from a kind person’s hose. I hopped out and got in the back of the truck to help the boys with the water throwing. Z and her friend were still not really interested in getting wet, so they stayed in the truck. I was quickly soaked with freezing cold water as someone came up and poured a bucket over me before we could drive off from where we had stopped. It was hilarious and shocking! I quickly got into the swing of things and was throwing water at all the people that we passed by, trying to get them before they could get me.

Water fight!
Water fight!

What fun it all was! Everyone was laughing and yelling “Sawasdee pi mai ka” (or sawasdee pi mai kop in they were male) and having a good time. Along one stretch of road there was a large group of locals that would stop each car and surround it, splashing water and smearing wet baby powder and mentholated cream on everyone’s cheeks (facial cheeks guys, lets keep this clean). It was so fascinating to be a part of the celebration.

While this was going on, I kept thinking that I wanted to replace every holiday back home with a community water fight. Of course at home someone would most likely file a lawsuit against someone else for something or other, and the festivities would quickly be done away with. It is so saddening to think that California (maybe all of the US, I’m not sure) has become so litigious, that real joyful fun like Songkran on a community level is very rare if not extinct. Okay, off my soap box now…

We drove this way for about another 2 hours, switching off driving duties, throwing water, shooting others with water guns, filling up our buckets along the way, and just plain old having a ton of fun.  Zoë eventually got out and braved the constant barrage of water and even threw some buckets of water at people along the way. I was proud of her, it’s not many almost-3-year-olds that could handle a situation like that.  (Times like that make me realize again why we are on this journey, not only for our own education and enjoyment, but also for Zoë’s.)

Eventually we the little ones got tired, so we headed back to our friends place to have some lunch. Then Chad, Zoë, and I went home and rested for most of the day. I was exhausted and a tad sunburnt and I got a couple of bruises from sitting on the hard truck bed, but besides that I was unscathed besides being SOAKED!  I felt very thankful to be able to join in the fun and festivities, and it has cemented my love for this amazing country even more.

Have you ever been to a Songkran celebration in Thailand? What did you love/hate about it? Does the place where you live have a holiday or celebration that you think is enjoyable? Tell me about it!

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  14 comments for “Wednesday Write-up: A Wet Songkran

  1. freebutfun
    April 16, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Single Woman Travels wrote about that too ( http://singlewomantravel.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/happy-songkran-day/) It was the first time I heard about the day, and it sounds like FUN!!! Great that you got to experience it!

    • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
      April 16, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Sounds great – I’m off to read the other account as well! Definitely seems like the sort of thing that should be celebrated more widely. The last time I had a huge water fight like that was last day of lectures at uni (I don’t remember too many of the lectures – we had a champagne breakfast and water fight to start the day and I think we soaked most of the lecturers before they got in the door?)

      • andthreetogo
        April 17, 2014 at 12:09 am

        That sounds perfect! If I ever end up back in the States, I am going to try to bring it back with me. Maybe Independence Day or something. 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      April 17, 2014 at 12:06 am

      Oh I will check that out! Thanks for sharing it!
      I am elated that I finally was able to celebrate it!

  2. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    April 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    That sounds like so much real fun! Simple, honest fun! I guess you leave cell phones behind, eh?

    • andthreetogo
      April 17, 2014 at 12:13 am

      Oh yes, no electronics anywhere near. I think next year I am going to buy a waterproof camera so I can get some good pictures.

  3. 5sOnTheFly
    April 18, 2014 at 4:44 am

    We had heard about the Songkran,water fights, but we never made the connection that it was part of the New Year celebrations. We’ve recently started observing Chinese New Year…it looks like we’ll now have another excuse to ring in the New Year 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      April 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

      I have celebrated all three New Years that I know of now (our new year, Chinese New Year, and songkran). I think songkran is the best by far!

  4. Benay
    April 18, 2014 at 9:24 am

    It was an awesome day! Thanks guys! -B

    • andthreetogo
      April 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Thank you! It’s so great having good friends! 🙂 We will miss you three when we are away! More fun when we come back!

  5. thriftytravelmama
    April 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Wow, how fun is that! My kids would love it. And a big high five to Z for getting in the game 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      April 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      I think next year she will be even more into it. Being doused with ice cold water could shock anyone, but she did handle it well!

  6. thebritishberliner
    April 22, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    This is why I really like Thailand. What a brilliant festival, of sharing and merry-making with other people. Easter sounds quite boring in comparison. I’m sure that it was loads of fun but perhaps without FREEZING cold water, maybe lovely warm jacuzzi-like water instead LOL!

    • andthreetogo
      April 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      It was nice because it was so hot outside that the occasional freezing water was a nice cool down… After the initial shock that is. And most of the time the water was really warm.

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