Thailand: Drought Does Not Dry Up Songkran

BenarNews Staff

People sprinkle perfumed water on a Buddhist statue at the Royal Grounds in Bangkok, April 13, 2016. [Pimuk Rakkanam/BenarNews]


A woman pours perfumed water on a statue of the Buddha at the City Pillar shrine in Bangkok, April 13, 2016. [Pimuk Rakkanam/BenarNews]


Performers in a government-sponsored opera put on a show marking Songkran, but without wasting water. [Pimuk Rakkanam/BenarNews]


Boys compete in a traditional “Rope Glove” Thai boxing match in front of hundreds of spectators at the Royal Grounds. [Pimuk Rakkanam/BenarNews]


Others demonstrate the art of Thai sword fighting. [Pimuk Rakkanam/BenarNews]


In Mahasarakham province in northeastern Thailand, people offer alms to Buddhist monks. [Nontarat/BenarNews]


In Mahasarakham, a young woman sprinkles water to show respect to her elders as she receives a blessing. [Nontarat/BenarNews]


In Thailand’s Deep South, people celebrate Songkran with a “foam party” in Yala province. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


Children enjoy the foam party. [Nasueroh/BenarNews]


Boys engage in a water fight in nearby Narathiwat province. [Rapee Mama/BenarNews]

People in Thailand kicked off Songkran, the Thai New Year’s festival that is celebrated with the splash of water fights, despite the most severe drought to afflict the country in about 25 years.

From north to south, a multitude of Thais paused from work to reunite with their families and participate in religious ceremonies, parties, parades and good old-fashioned water fights. The tradition of Songkran dates to the Sukhothai Kingdom of the 13th and 14th centuries, and is believed to have originated in northern India.

Due to the drought, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha called on Thais to conserve water, stop water fights and return to the traditional approach of sprinkling water during this year’s festivities, which began April 13 and run through April 15. Elsewhere, Bangkok metropolitan region officials called for more traditional ways of celebrating Songkran this year, by staging an opera and martial arts displays.

But in spite of the government’s water-conservation efforts, water parties were taking place in Bangkok and throughout the country, according to published reports.


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