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Songkran Festival Break

Tomorrow 13th April, the Songkran (Thai New Year) celebration officially starts.

“The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit, meaning the beginning of a new solar year. The Thai calendar used to switch to a new year on April 13 but the date was changed to January 1 to bring the country in line with the rest of the world.”

The festival is also celebrated in Cambodia, Burma and Laos.

Traditionally, Songkran was an occasion for young people to pay respect to their elders by pouring small amounts of lustral water on their hands. This was done as a sign of respect.

Now youngster load up with the latest water guns and indiscriminately shoot on motorcyclists, buses, trucks, cars and anyone walking along the street. If you are eleven years old this is probably fun and adventure to be looked forward to all year. If you are older, having someone turn a water hose on you and throw buckets of ice water from the back of a pickup isn’t exactly thought of as a sign of respect.

Already many people have left Bangkok to return to their home upcountry. Already 138 killed on the roads. The government has announced a crackdown on drunk and speeding drivers. I won’t be posting again until Monday 17th April once all the water throwing has ended, I’ve dried off, and everyone has returned to work.

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