During Songkran festival, there are many water fights, either in dedicated areas such as Silom Road (Bangkok) or CentralWorld (Bangkok) or in opened areas such as roads where people are splashing cars, buses and motorbikes.
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 water tanks.
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.
Foreigners are sure to be called "FARANG" (ฝรั่ง), sure to hear many times the word "hello" and to receive many water buckets.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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