Celebrating Songkran in Bangkok

John prepares to head out into the main walkway with his second gun of the day.

John prepares to head out into the main walkway with his second gun of the day.

One of the best parts of extending our trip by a couple weeks was the fact that we got to spend our last weekend in Bangkok during the Thai New Year. To celebrate Songkran, as it is called in Thai, the entire country participates in a massive water festival. This tradition of throwing water on people originated with catching water that had been poured over Buddhas for cleansing and then pouring the water on people’s shoulders as a blessing. It has evolved far beyond this today, of course. But given that New Years is at the end of the dry season and Thailand is hot as Hades then, the timing sure couldn’t be better.

We spent all day Saturday souvenir shopping at the outdoor Chatachuk Market. Not knowing what to expect, we prepared by putting our electronics, passports and money in Ziplocks and wondered if we were being overly cautious. Ha! Little did we know we would not be dry for the entire next two days. Of course, we bought water guns at the market and that was a clear sign to everyone around us that we were fair game.

Not only did we engage in quite a few water gun fights, but various people dumped buckets of water on us, over and over! Even when we were in a tuk tuk on the way back to our hotel, we got completely soaked by revelers with full buckets. And so we were indoctrinated into the incredibly fun ritual of celebrating New Years, Thai style.

These kids are hiding out in a closed-for-the-day clothing stall and are firing straight at John!

These kids are hiding out in a closed-for-the-day clothing stall and are firing straight at John!


Getting ready.

Getting ready. Clothes are still mostly dry.

This poor kid!

John really gets into “celebrating New Years” … who knows what this poor kid was thinking?!

In the fray

In the fray. Completely soaked at this point.

We didn't take this one, but it captures the "bucket effect" - which was how we got completely soaked both days.

We didn’t take this photo, but it captures the “bucket effect” – which ensured that we got completely soaked both days.

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