Seriously this was massive. I was told when I got to the hostel that it was Songkran in a couple of day’s time. I had no idea what they were talking about. All I was told was to buy the biggest water pistol I could find.
Songkran is the celebration of the Thai New Year. It originated when the farmers had to wait for the rains to plant their rice and is also a symbol of cleansing and renewal. Guess this is where the water fits in.
So I went with my new friends the next day to select a water pistol. There were so many people selling them and so many varieties. I have never seen such big ones. I was shocked. The people were also so happy and excited and I was told that it was in fact a big deal and a very special day for them, and a very very big water fight. I bought a really big gun but not the biggest one as I thought that would be a bit over the top.
The next day all of these huge pickup trucks drove along the streets with large tanks of water on the back, firing at anyone and everyone. People on the streets were firing back. It was full on water warfare. We were totally drenched in no time. People kept running up to us and rubbing white powder on to our faces and bodies. Water and powder make glue. We were told that this was a way to ward off evil spirits and as a symbol of protection. Old ladies were particularly into this and saying things to ward off evil spirits followed by a solid blast of cold water.
It was so amazing. Everybody was white and wet and freezing. They put ice in the water. I don’t know why? The streets were like streams. Some people had raincoats on and told us they were useless the Thai people would just come up and spray down your back. You can’t help but get into. Old people, young children just everyone is so into it. There was an old man sitting outside a bar in a wheelchair. He had 5 guns next to him and a Thai girl kept filling them for him. He was vicious.
The Thai people were so happy – this really is a significant celebration for them. We knew that it continued for days so we had to regroup in order to be real players. Yes we got bigger and better water pistols, no modesty now. Game on. It was no use washing our clothes as it was just going to keep going. We just tried to get them as dry as possible.
The next day we put on our clothes that were stiff with glue and only partially dry, left our cameras and any valuables in the safe at the hostel and ventured out. A couple of steps from the door and that was it. I was wet and white, but I was armed.
The world’s biggest water fight and I was there.
Photo by gakige on Flickr