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SONGKRAN

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During Songkran festival, there are many water fights, either in dedicated areas such as Silom Road in Bangkok or CentralWorld in ‪‎Bangkok or in opened areas such as roads where people are splashing cars, buses and motorbikes.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
During Songkran festival every kind of vehicule is used in order to transport as many people as possible. Many people means more fun, more "SANUK" (สนุก).

During Songkran festival, there are a few ways to enjoy splashing people. One way is to go with many friends in a pickup. Then go through villages / small cities and enjoy splashing the other cars and people in front of their house. The only problem when using a pickup is to find a way to fill again the empty tanks.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
Another way is to stay in front of the house. Then fill tanks with water and splash cars when they pass. Traditional "weapon" is the bucket. Nowadays modern water guns with a tank on the back can be bought.

Everybody takes part into Songkran festival, i.e. young and old people, boys, girls and "KATOEI" (กะเทย). It is the opportunity for other revelers to make some girlish shouts and phrasings such as "KHON SUEY" (คนสวย). Even monks or policemen are splashed.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
Going on a pickup is also very funny as it allows to go to many places. But it has a few disavantages. When driving above 40 mph, it becomes chilly even with the sun. When receiving some water at fast speed in the face, it really hurts. The last but the least is to find places where to buy water to fill the tank. Hopefully there are always people selling water from the rivers but its quality and smell can be average.

Foreigners are sure to be called "FARANG" (ฝรั่ง), sure to hear many times the word "hello" and to receive many water buckets.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
Of course splashing cars with closed windows is less interesting. No need to waste water. It is more funny to splash pickups, motorcycles. Anyway cars with closed windows receive some water for purification.

For people traveling with their cars during Songkran festival it is safer to lock the doors. Some drunk people sometimes try to open the doors.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
Some people also put ice in the water. To receive icy water (NAM YEN - น้ำเย็น) when the temperaturing reaches 40 °C / 104 °F can be dangerous for health. Wearing sunglasses without a neck cord during Songkran is also an error. When people throw water roughly they shall fall on the ground.

Girls and young women on motorcycles are favorite targets. Often boys stop the motorcycles, even switch off engines to throw water on girls and put some talcum powder on their face. This is always done with fun but sometimes some drunk guys stop motorcycles dangerously. To put talcum powder on revelers face ("TAK PAENG" - ตากแป็ง) is now was also forbidden. Many boys take this opportunity to seize the girl's breast and to kiss her cheeks ("OM KAEN" - หอมแก็ม). This new law is supposed to decrease this sexist behavior. This rite is called "THA PAENG KAN PHI" - ทาแป็งกันผี. This is an old Songkran tradition. The white paste was supposed to bring protection and to ward off bad spirits.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
Even if Songkran festival is a big game, throwing water roughly hurts people. When getting excited and sometimes drunk, people lose their inhibition and they can hurt without intention.

For Songkran or Thai New Year, the traditional greeting is "Happy New Year" ("SAWATDEE PI MAI" - สวัสดีปีใหม่) or "Lucky New Year" ("CHOK DEE PI MAI" - โชคดีปีใหม่). Another polite expression is also "Be happy on Songkran day" ("KOR HAI MII KWAM SUUK NAI WAN SONGKRAN" - ขอให้มีความสุขในวันสงกรานต์). If you want to get someone back, try "take that!" ("SOM NAM NA!" - สมน้ำหน้า).

Splashing bus
Splashing bus
Favorite targets are cars with opened windows or provincial buses without air conditioning. With temperatures reaching 40 °C / 104 °F, the bus driver must open the doors and windows to get some fresh air while driving.

High-pressure water guns are now banned. Rubbing powder on others is also banned. Paint and ice are out and young women are being urged not to wear skimpy tops. Water guns can cause eye injuries or blindness. Whistles used to stop vehicules are also forbidden. Violators may face a maximum jail term of five years and/or a fine of 500 000 Baht.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
A terrific and memorable experience is going in towns and narrow streets where revellers are waiting on both street sides. It is the best way to understand Songkran madness.

Songkran festival is the most dangerous period for drivers. Every year hundreds of people die during Songkran festival. The majority of people who died are motorcycle riders who slipped on wet roads. Despite the law, during hot season most people don't wear helmet. Drunk driving also accounted for a big number of accidents, mostly involving males aged 15-25 years.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
It can be dangerous for people driving motorcycles. If people splash roughly motorcycles, accidents can happen due to wet roads. Sometimes the motorcycle cannot start again due to wet engine candles.

In order to decrease the number of death during Songkran festival, more policemen are involved to check drivers. Senior police officers proposed zoning for Songkran celebrations as way of reducing the road carnage during the long Songkran holiday.

Splashing cars
Splashing cars
This whole family is in a pickup car. There is a big tank full of water. Kids are using small buckets to throw water.



Click on the projector View to start this movie shot during Songkran festival



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