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March 31, 2014, 11:54:20 AM
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  • Guest
« on: March 31, 2014, 11:54:20 AM »

The Thai New Year falls in mid-April every year
It's known as the "Songkran", the water-splashing festival

In most provinces of Thailand the Songkran Festival will be celebrated from
April 13 to April 15
However, different regions have slightly different dates.
The  Pattaya Festival occurs just prior to Songkran Festival creating a celebrating which lasts for an entire week. 

   "Songkran"  (the "Water Festival" which is the celebration of the old  Thai New Year)
and the "Pattaya Festival" merge to create a week of non-stop partying.  Some love it, and some hate it!  Nobody is neutral about it!    Girls smear your face with colored powder which makes your face glow in bar light.  Bars, clubs and restaurants put on special entertainments.  There is music, drinking, "carrying on", and more drinking practically 24 hours a day.  Opening Day ceremonies on 12 April include a parade along Beach Road.  Bar girls form all over the country converge on  Pattaya for the festival.  It is a total carnival and street-party lasting for a week or longer.

Hotel, restaurant and other prices increase to the "peak season rate" for the week, and then revert back after the festival.     
The festivities  begin  innocently enough
  with people squirting each other with little squirt guns.  "Isn't that cute!" you might think at first.  In a short time, however,  the activity escalates to the level of pandemonium as power sprays and buckets of water (some of it purposefully chilled for greater effect!) are splashed on anything that moves in the streets.  Pick-up trucks with gangs of  (mostly) kids,  with hoses,sprayers, and 50 gallon drums of water cruise the streets looking for easy targets. On some days,  the traffic becomes "choker-block" creating miles of "tail gate parties" where drunken revelers jump off their vehicles, smear powder on wind screens, and soak  anyone outside of their car or who is stupid enough to leave their window rolled down. Last year, I got stuck in one of these, and it took 2 1/2 hours to get from Sukhumvit to Beach Road along Pattaya Klang.

   Some of the most diabolical squirt guns imaginable
(wish we had them back when I was a kid in the 19th Century!) are available for sale in all the shops and on every street corner.

   Some people find this to be a giant hoot, 
and for others there is no charm in sitting in an conditioned bar in soggy underwear! One thing is for sure, you are not going to stay dry for very long if you venture out into public during Songkran. Many residents  leave town  for the week to escape.  Using a private car and having  "dry zone" where you can enter and exit safely is the only way to get any business done, or to transport papers and valuables without getting them wet.  There is literally no safe place out of doors.  And, of course, as in any mass-gathering, there are always reports of tragic accidents and incidents.

   I have never seen anything quite like it anywhere else in the world.
It is worth the experience, at least once.  If you want to play, I  suggest buying a couple of those inexpensive,  super-light nylon shorts and T-shirts that dry out very quickly, and wear flip-flops--otherwise it can be very uncomfortable walking around in soaked clothing, especially in the air conditioned shops and restaurants.  Have fun!  And don't say you haven't been warned!





[size=78%]And now a little about the traditional Songkran :  [/size]

"The Rites of Songkran (Thai New Year ) 

At the Thai New Yearthere are rites and rituals thatpeople participate in as part of the New Year blessings and Buddhistmerit-making, One of these is the splashing of water. Water runs deep in the Thai New Year traditions, both as a symbol of cleansing and as a symbol of renewal. These days we tend to recognize the throwing of large amounts of water as the epitome of the Songkran festivities but is has always been the more delicate water splashing that represents the gentle nature o fSongkran and the Thai New Year.
   The family sprinkling scented water from silver bowls on a Buddhaimage is a ritual practiced by all Thais in on the third day of Songkran, known as Wan Payawan. This is the first official day of the New Year and on this day people cleanse the Buddha images in their homes as well as in the temples with
scented water. The family is dressed in traditional Thai costume and wearing leis of jasmine flower buds. The wateris scented with the petals of this flower.
   In addition to the cleansing of the Buddhaimages a traditional Songkraninvolves the sprinkling of water by younger people on the older people as a tribute of respect and for blessings. This is much different from the watertossing we see on the streets and is a genuinely sincere event whereby scented
water is poured over the shoulder and gently down the back of the person. While pouring the water in this manner, people utter good wishes and words of blessing for the New Year. The water symbolizes cleansing, refreshment of the spirit and all good things associated with life.
   Related to the water pouring is the ritual of the tying of strings. This involves thetying of strings around the wrists of others and expressing good wishes for the New Year. When a person ties strings to another's wrist, it is a very important event. He or she approaches with a gentle smile and holds out the string by the two ends and then begins to tie. The person receiving the string has his or her arm outstretched with the under side of the wrist facing upward. While tying the strings, the person recitesshort prayers of blessing spoken directly for the individual. This is one of the most charming events of Songkran and it's one that you should show great appreciation for should someone approach you to apply the strings to your wrist. At Songkran a personcould have as many as 25 or 30 strings on each Wrist each from a different person, and these are to be left on until they fall off of their own accord.
   As part of the water sprinkling, watersplashing and string tying rites, you may also encounter aperson with a small silver bowlfilled with a white powder or pasty substance. This is one of the oldest Songkran traditions. The white paste is a sign of protection and promises to ward off evil. The person with the paste is often older and he or she applies the paste to variousparts of the face, neck and torso of others.
One is expected to leave this paste on until it washes off of its own accord, and while there is a tendency to shy away from this paste because it looks like it might ruin the clothes, it is water soluble and willnot harm materials.
   There are other rituals and merit-making rites that people engage in atSongkran. In addition to the traditional cleaning of the home and bidding the old year adieu, these include making offerings to local temples and the monks. The offerings include preserved foods cooked dishes, fresh fruit and new robes
for the monks. Also people build sand piles on the temple grounds and these sand piles represent personal pagodas built as part of the merit-making ritual. The traditions of Songkran have a longhistory and are still observed in the Thai homeland of Sipsong Panna in southwestern China, in Laos and in northern Burma. Songkran or the Thai New Year, is actually the occasion of the passing of the sun from Taurus into
Aries. It is a solar event and it marks the beginning of a new astrological year, and this is very important in Thailand. Songkran day always is April 13. TheThai New Year celebration: always is held on April 12,13 and 14 officiallybut an entire week will be filled with fun in Chiangmai."

« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 01:14:47 PM by admin »

March 31, 2014, 12:02:18 PM
Reply #1


  • Guest
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 12:02:18 PM »
Mon 31 Mar 2014, 11:07 am


Official dates

Sun 13 Apr thru Wed 16 Apr 2014

But some places will undoubtedly begin

Sat 12 Apr

and continue through

Fri Apr, possibly Sat & Sun as well. 

When official Songkran falls on a weekend, there is the possibility of it continuing for the full week, both weekends.

!!! Warning !!!

Chakri Day is 

 Mon 7 Apr 14, 2014

It is a national, legal holiday, so if you are need to get immigration or other business done before Songkran, plan accordingly !

March 31, 2014, 12:09:55 PM
Reply #2


  • Guest
Songkran, How do I love (hate) thee?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 12:09:55 PM »
Mon 31 Mar 2014, 11:20

Songkran, how do I love (hate) thee?   
Let me count the ways . . .

Post your Songkran, Love it or Hate it stories here. 

What are your plans this year?  What is the best/worst Songkran you can remember? 

April 13, 2014, 07:59:06 PM
Reply #3


  • Guest
Road mayhem: Songkran death toll rises to 102 after two days
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2014, 07:59:06 PM »
Sun 13 Apr 2014, 7:55 pm

Road mayhem: Songkran death toll rises to 102 after two days

Come on!  You guys aren't trying hard enough!  More booze!  More speed!  More recklessness!

April 18, 2014, 11:04:30 AM
Reply #4


  • Guest
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2014, 11:04:30 AM »
 Fri 18 Apr 2014, 10:02 am

Thais ranked as fourth heaviest drinkers in the world

This is actually more problematic than appears on the surface of the report.  Approximately one third or more of ethnic Asians lack a specific enzyme that metabolizes alcohol.  I am sure you have all know Thais (or other Asians) who get f**ked-up on one beer.  This is a well-understood phenomenon.  Paradoxically, this "cheap date" syndrome makes Asians less inclined to actual alcoholism than (ethnic) Northern Europeans who have this enzyme.  Speculation is that Chinese and people in the other  tea-drinking cultures never developed this enzyme because they sterilized water by boiling.  Europeans, on the other hand, drank weak beer instead of water, and as a consequence were always half-soused all the time.  As a response, Europeans developed this particular enzyme which metabolizes booze and allows Europeans to "hold their liquor" but also make us more prone to full-blown alcoholism.  Oooops!  I didn't intend such a long-winded introduction.  But the moral of the story, is that great numbers of Asians should avoid alcohol entirely.

 BANGKOK, 17 April 2014 (NNT)

February 27, 2016, 06:13:08 PM
Reply #5


  • Guest
Songkran 2016 on as Normal in Spite of Drought
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2016, 06:13:08 PM »
Sat 27 Feb 2016, 5:58 pm

Songkran Will Go On Despite Drought: Tourism Authority

A Songkran reveller puts powder on a policeman’s face April 15, 2014, on Khaosan Road in Bangkok.
Photo: Matichon

By Teeranai Charuvastra

BANGKOK — Despite threats of persistent and severe drought, the Tourism Authority of Thailand said the annual water fight festival that marks the traditional Thai New Year will go on as normal.

Read full story on KHAOSOD ENGLISH
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 06:14:44 PM by admin »

March 31, 2016, 08:58:34 PM
Reply #6


  • Guest
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2016, 08:58:34 PM »
Thu 31 Mar 2016, 8:30 pm

Official dates:  Wed 13-15 April 2016
But will be celebrated to one degree or another the entire Week of Sun 10 April thru Sun 16 April

Plan early.  Stores will be busy and crowded.  If you are foolish enough to plan to travel during this period, note that roads will be choker-block and all forms of transport will be booked to capacity.  Book plane, train and bus tix NOW.

Please share your Songkran thoughts, stories and experiences here.  What are you planning on doing this year?

April 01, 2016, 06:35:39 PM
Reply #7


  • Guest
Please use foggy spray to celebrate Songkran
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2016, 06:35:39 PM »
 Bangkok people advised to use foggy spray to celebrate Songkran this year

The advice came from Mr Wallop Suvarndee, chief advisor to Governor of Bangkok, when he chaired a press conference of "Bangkok Songkran Festival at Silom 2016" yesterday.

As the country now is facing the mist critical drought situation in 20 years, he advised that Songkran celebrants spray foggy instead of to splash water this year. He said there will be no free water distributing spot too.

He made clear that the “Bangkok Songkran Festival at Silom 2016” will be held without free water distribution spots set up by the BMA as it usually had in the past. Neither the water cave nor the performing stage will be erected as the country had faced a serious drought, he said. He asked business enterprises not to set up free water distribution spots while for the celebrants he advised them and to foggy spray.

He said the Silom Songkran Festival at Silom will be held on April 13 and 14, from noon to 9 pm. He said one day is cut off from it usually held from 13 to 15. He also said alcohol will be banned as well as big water guns. City police in cooperation with the military will check all celebrants entering Silom to make sure that they won’t carry backpacks, wear masks, or carry big water guns into the area as part of the security measures against terrorism.


April 04, 2016, 11:27:21 AM
Reply #8


  • Guest
Chakri Day National Holiday Wed April 6th
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2016, 11:27:21 AM »

Sorry, I forgot to mention Chakri Day on Wed 6 April 2016, which commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty and the founding of Bangkok by King Phutthayotfa Chulalok in 1782.

This is a national holiday and all public facilities and many business are closed.  Be aware of this if you are trying to get anything done pre-Songkran.  One year I took a bus all the way to Nong Kai Immigration only to find them closed.  cry2

April 12, 2016, 07:13:29 PM
Reply #9


  • Guest
52 killed, 431 injured Songkran Day 1
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2016, 07:13:29 PM »
Tue 12 Apr 2016, 7:05 pm 52 people killed, 431 injured Songkran Day 1 Fifty-two people were killed and 431 others injured in 387 road accidents on the first day of the launch road safety campaign on Monday to coincide with Songkran festival. The centre for the prevention and reduction of road accidents of the Department of Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation, the main cause of the road accidents was speeding which accounted for 36.69 percent of the 387 accidents recorded on the first day followed by drunk driving which accounted for 26.87 percent of the accidents. Motorcycles accounted for the bulk of the accidents representing 79.6 percent followed by pick-up trucks accounting for 10.20 percent of the accidents. 56.93 percent of the dead and injured victims were working people. Chiang Mai topped the highest incidence of road accidents with 19 accidents followed by 6 in Prachin Buri. The centre reported that a total of 2,128 road checkpoints were set up on Monday and over 65,000 officials were mobilized to keep check of traffic flow and inspection of vehicles. A total of 528,903 vehicles were checked and, of these, 84,724 faced legal actions, including 25,651 cases of no driving licenses and 23,354 cases of riding with crash helmets. Pol Lt-Gen Anan Srihirun, assistant national police chief, said police in the provinces were instructed to facilitate traffic flow and to ensure road safety today which is the last working day in anticipation of more people leaving Bangkok. Mr Chatchai Promlert, chief of the Department for Public Disasters Prevention and Mitigation, said that as most holidaymakers would have reached their destinations in upcountry by tomorrow, provincial and local administrators had been instructed to tighten up the five measures introduced by the National Council for Peace and Order, foremost of all is the measure to clamp down on reckless driving, speeding and drunk driving.
Road Accident Statistics during Songkran Festival 2016 -- Thai PBS 2016-04-12

April 17, 2016, 08:44:14 AM
Reply #10


  • Guest
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 08:44:14 AM »

Richard Barrow in Thailand  -

Songkran 2016  |  338 deaths  |  2,891 injuries  |  2,724 accidents (5 days)
Songkran 2015  |  364 deaths  |  3,559 injuries  |  3,373 accidents
Songkran 2014  |  322 deaths  |  3,225 injuries  |  2,992 accidents
Songkran 2013  |  321 deaths  |  3,040 injuries  |  2,828 accidents
Songkran 2012  |  320 deaths  |  3,320 injuries  |  3,129 accidents

Sun 17 Apr 2016, 8:33 am

March 31, 2017, 11:34:54 AM
Reply #11


  • Guest
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2017, 11:34:54 AM »
Thu 13 Apr thru Sun 16 Apr
(probably starts earlier)

***Please post your Songkran plans, feelings  and stories here***

March 31, 2017, 05:43:08 PM
Reply #12


  • Guest
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2017, 05:43:08 PM »
Chakri Memorial Day 2017
Thursday 6 April 2017

It is a national public holiday commemorating the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty by Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke ( Rama I) in 1782.

All government offices, banks and post offices will be closed. If you plan to take care of any important business (such as immigration business)  before Songkran, mark your calendar so you  don't get caught by surprise as I did one year.  Took bus all the way to Nong (as we had to do in those days) to take care of some immigration chore.  Then planed to send an important registered letter at the P.O. No dice on both counts.  The fact that the bus broke down 3/4 of the way to Nong Khai didn't help either!
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 06:04:24 PM by admin »

April 01, 2017, 04:36:25 PM
Reply #13


  • Guest
Songkran faces ban! Water throwing set to be a crime this year
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2017, 04:36:25 PM »
 Sat 1 Apr 2017, 4:26 pm

Songkran faces ban!
Water throwing set to be a crime this year

In a move to reign in Songkran the Thai authorities have finally acted with a swathe of new measures to stop water throwing activities at this year’s upcoming festival.
All “overt” water throwing could now warrant charges for assault with serious dousing cases leading to jail time, heavy fines or both.
The move comes after growing public pressure in recent years to put an end to the drunken revelry at what is often termed the traditional Thai New Year but has become more widely known as “Songkran Water War”.
However, there was good news for traditionalists – sprinkling scented water on Buddhist images and over the hands of respected elders will not be considered a crime, so long as it is done properly and scents used have been purchased from official government outlets.
Meanwhile, it was further announced that should the recommendations be ignored or flouted the festival may be cancelled altogether in subsequent years or possibly incorporated into the Western calendar’s existing New Year.
Economic ministry insiders are saying that this will help with productivity in the nation by combining two holidays into one thus giving Thais less days off.
The move has been hailed by road safety activists as well as the tourism sector who suggest that there will be no detrimental impact on tourism as visitors will now spend more money on perfumes for scented water.
It was also mentioned that it will help visitors to the kingdom understand and appreciate Thai customs better by limiting the number of young women parading in wet t-shirts.
Announcing the surprise measures at the Ministry of Cultural Traditions yesterday was spokesman Haiyut Karnsa-nam who said: “This water madness has gone on for too long and while the military government had announced that returning happiness to the people was a priority in 2014 it has been taken much too far.
“All overt tossing or splashing of water nationwide will be banned. Obviously people will still be able to splash water in the privacy of their own homes for the purposes of showering”.
He said the ban would apply to all public areas for the period of April 12 to 15 inclusive. It would also be extended in Pattaya as it is widely known they do their own thing though critics felt that police at the resort were unlikely to enforce the ban. Inactive posts are being set up just in case.
Thais were further warned that they should refrain from watering the garden during those dates as this might be filmed and shared on social media creating confusion and misunderstanding among the public leading to a possible rise in unnecessary computer crime arrests.
Haiyut also spoke of the legal situation: “When the steering committee was set up to discuss what to do about Songkran we were all agreed that there was no need to waste time and promulgate any new laws”.
The police have more than enough on the statute books to prosecute offenders for common assault or in more serious cases of water tossing, grievous bodily harm, he noted.
“Putting ice into the water could easily warrant a charge of GBH though having powder in the water is a grey area unless it enters the eyes,” he said. “Additionally, using moat water, such as in Chiang Mai, may well constitute an attempted murder charge, as the water is considered hazardous”.
Plans are also underway to set up ESCs (Emergency Songkran Courts) to deal swiftly and effectively with any lawbreakers. Authorities plan to publically torch any water guns that are confiscated.
Government sources said that a massive media exercise centering on Facebook and a poster campaign in Khao San Road are planned to get the message out about this year’s Songkran.
The Bangkok metropolitan police department have chipped in with a promotional YouTube video called “Happy Zone Songkran For U”. They plan to issue smiley face badges to all dry people in the capital during the holidays.
While all water throwing is off limits there will thankfully still be plenty to do for locals and tourists alike. Huge ceremonies are being set up where everyone over 70 will be required to sit in a line to have their fingers sprinkled with jasmine scented water.
The government has signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Chinese to supply the huge quantity of perfume required at a favorable discount. One source said they were getting three bottles for the price of two.
Foreign visitors over seventy will have the option to take part though some expressed concerns for their health in sitting out in 43 degree heat all day. In this regard, TAT officials said special health insurance would be available at discounted rates, just in case.
Haiyut added: “We on the committee felt it was too late to cancel the celebrations altogether but I would not rule out that eventuality in 2018. From the original one or two day holiday, Songkran has become an entire week off for many Thais”.
While this was acceptable for civil servants, poor factory workers were also downing tools and expecting full pay meaning that the economy was suffering as a result, he commented.
He said that in subsequent years, Thai New Year may be simply incorporated into the celebration at midnight on the 31st of December.
“We are conscious of modernizing Thailand,” he said, “and bringing the kingdom in line with other developed nations may be another great shot in the arm for tourism. Besides, no one will want to throw water in December, it’s just too cold.
He added finally: “Some may think it is sad to abandon our traditions but even in December we will do everything with that special Thai-ness and Thai smile that the world has grown to know and love”.
While the moves to ban water fights were met with surprise by many in Thai society, netizens still consoled themselves with the knowledge that there would now be even greater time to have a local beverage and get totally rat-assed before attempting to drive home.

April 11, 2019, 09:50:04 AM
Reply #14


  • Guest
And so the madness begins . . .
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2019, 09:50:04 AM »
And so the madness begins . . . again!

Yesterday, went to Central Plaza to stock up for the siege. Chockablock traffic to and from, but manageable, and not nearly as bad as it is going to be today and the next several days.

I figured out how to pay my water bill via QR code using my mobile. That eliminates the mildly annoying visit to 7-11 and B20 surcharge to pay the bill. That was cool! The bill came at a bad time this month, and I didn't want to get cut off or brave a visit to 7-11 during the water madness.

Stay safe everybody. If Songkran is your thing, have fun.  If not, stay dry. In any case, avoid cars and booze and people carrying AK747s.


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