Have a Happy (and wet) New Year

One of my favorite times to visit Thailand is when the local New Year celebrations are taking place, usually in April in the western calendar. OK, maybe some places will be closed, but most bars and restaurants are open until all hours, catering to the partying locals as well as partying visitors. I was once given the choice between spending a couple of weeks in April in a grotty Thai hostel or five-star Lanzarote villas, and I didn’t hesitate to choose the first option!

Tourists often refer to New Year or Songkran as the water festival, as H2O features very prominently in all the celebrations. In fact, you can’t safely walk the streets in Thailand during Songkran without being jumped by marauding teenagers with garden hoses and super soakers, intent on drenching anyone they come across. Don’t get mad, get even. Buy your own super soaker and hit them back! It can be quite pleasant, anyway, as the heat in Thailand during April is pretty fierce. I’m often a bit disappointed if I don’t get back to my hostel completely dripping wet!

It all stems from a religious tradition, when water that had been blessed by the elders would be sprinkled on family and friends. This sprinkling has developed into soaking, and family and friends has become anyone within reach of your hose! It’s not even blessed water any more, just the regular stuff that comes out of the tap. It’s great fun, mind you, and it makes a difference to be happy to be wet at New Year. If you end up wet during the British New Year celebrations, that probably means it’s been tipping it down with rain….