A New Year Celebration in Thailand
Around mid-April, all of Thailand celebrates the New Year, called Songkran. But not in the ordinary way we would think of. You have to live it to believe it. Let me tell you my memories and my perception of it.
Songkran is three days of nonstop splashing, dancing, laughing, letting go of everything, and thinking about nothing. You get to play the game of being a kid again. You can wash away the old sins of the year to be reborn for the new one.
Thousands and thousands of people splash water at each other in total peace and harmony, celebrating, smiling, and dancing. The locals and foreigners mix and become one. There is pure happiness, joy, love and peace in the air.
We did not see one policeman during those three days. We were dancing as much as we do sometimes in a whole year. We had maybe one beer during the day–well we had mango juice, we admit–but we got so high. We got so much energy from the people, the joy, and the water. We had never-ending energy within each of us from life itself. And these feelings didn’t stop unless we chose to take a break.
A New Year Celebration in Thailand.
People who try to be well-behaved during the rest of the year can let it all out during these three days. This opportunity is important. And yet, we didn’t see any real misbehavior. Knowing that sometimes you are allowed to do whatever you want is enough.
We splashed tons of water, brown water from the river and sometimes ice cold water on each other, on purpose, by surprise, a lot, a little, while walking, driving or sitting, in people’s eyes, ears, nose, head, neck, back, wherever… with buckets, water pistols, hoses and other undefinable devices….
You can hide in the house and not get wet. But you will miss the joy, the ecstasy, and the love. Or you can brave the water and get wet–it surely will happen.
We can choose to take it the wrong way–or we can choose to smile. It’s just a game. We can be angry or we can smile. We can even have such a good laugh from it, a real laugh from deep inside our stomachs. How good it is to laugh with your whole body, mind and soul.
All we can do is be prepared and put our cameras and phones in waterproof bags–even though sometimes the water goes through or we make mistakes and take them out to capture the moment. But that’s okay. That’s part of it–of life. The joy is still there.
At the end, we feel exhausted now and lose our voices. Our bodies hurt. But it doesn’t matter. We just had so much fun. And that is worth everything.
We can learn a lot from this festival. After all, the funniest part of life is playing the game. And all we do in life is splash water at each other in order to have fun. Celebrate the new year every day. Every day is a new start.
Happy new game!
A New Year Celebration in Thailand photo by Angelika Seidl.