Songkran is an amazing example of old customs mixed with new ideas. From what I gather, the ceremony started with the idea of purification and washing away old transgressions, and evolved into an amazing festival/water battle. If the chaos that ensued when 10 adults got together for songkran can be extrapolated to a country of 67,000,000, I am surprised that anything or anyone is left standing at the end of the festival. I can only assume that this a three day free-for-all involving alliances, shifting factions, and general chaos.
The real Songkran takes place over three days and seems to be a free-for-all. No one is safe. No one.
The pictures that I have found online make me both terrified and excited to be there for the celebration next year. I am sure that if our mini celebration this year is any sort of example, I probably will die somewhere in day two from either pulmonary edema, or some form of blunt force trauma.
Run while you can!
Photo Credit 1
Songkran Drive By
Photo Credit 2
Now, this may all seem like no big deal, just some water in the lungs, who cares right? But then comes the chalk. Are you freaking kidding me? Let's add some powder? Yeah, coughing up water now just turned into coughing up paste.
Photo Credit 3
Our own festival started out civilized. Chaos swiftly ensued. Vows of friendship were forsaken for the time period of about three hours. Tentative head shots with squirt guns turned into full force water balloon shots. Ammo caches were hidden, water sources were like hoarding liquid gold. No one and no where was safe. If you did not want to be wet, the best option was to choose one direction and run like hell. Even that would have been met with a volley of water balloons and jeering.
It was awesome.
The food spread was also amazing. Our friend had stayed up all day cooking some amazing dishes and during our brief peace lull, much like the Christmas peace of WWI, both sides got together, put down our arms, and broke bread in peace.
Then the war started up again in earnest.
Groins were hit with loaded water balloons, babies were sort-of avoided, one black eye was given, but in the end it was all smiles.
Needless to say, as I type this with some aches on my body and my eye slowly recovering from a direct hit, I am beyond excited for next year.
Happy Songkran Everyone!
Photo Credit 1: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Tuktuk_chiangmai_songkran_05b.jpgPhoto Credit 2: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Songkran_012.jpg
Photo Credit 3: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Songkran-4-KayEss-1.jpeg