Today, Thailand celebrates its New Year, Songkran. Originally the date was tied to the lunar calendar but now is a fixed Georgian date of April 13th.
In some respects, the new year is celebrated the same way across many Asian cultures. Go home to family. Clean the house for a new clean start. Visit the temples to pay respects and seek blessings.
Thailand’s Songkran has evolved into another try of celebration. A huge water fight. Originating from the old tradition of drizzling friends, family, and passersby with blessed water from the temples, people now just douse one another with water in any way they can, from waterguns, to bowls, to water bottles, and hoses. No pedestrian, car, or motorcycle is spared.
Perhaps to further the country’s tourism, Bangkok has long established a Songkran Festival site on Khao San Road, also known as backpacker’s road. The pedestrian strip is lined with water drums, water gun sellers, bars, sidewalk food stalls, and water sellers. People just stroll up and down, targeting indiscriminately or specifically.
I went armed daringly with my cameras. All my friends had water guns and looked at me like I’m crazy. I knew I was risking damaging my camera but I had to try. I already did the water gun thing in the past and simply wanted to try to capture the experience in camera. I think I came up with some respectable results. What do you think?
postscript: My DSLR survived though I will need to give the lens some good cleaning tomorrow. My point-and-shoot seems to made it out though the dampness has led to constant interior glass fogging which I hope will resolve itself in my dry super a/c’ed apartment overnight. I found people in general were pretty respectful of the fact that I carried a camera. Sure, unaimed, random water was unavoidable but few targeted me once they saw my camera. I wasn’t alone in carrying a DSLR. Many have planned better and cut out plastic bags to protect the body. Most taped plastic bag like crazy over the entire camera except the lens opening. Clearly lovers of the automatic mode.