Thailand’s wet and wild New Year celebration Songkran sees millions of revelers

Thailand’s wet and wild New Year celebration Songkran sees millions of revelersThailand’s wet and wild New Year celebration Songkran sees millions of revelers
Millions of Thais and tourists partook in festivities in Bangkok over the weekend as Thailand kicked off its traditional New Year celebration called Songkran on Saturday.
Key points:
  • Millions of people took to the streets of Bangkok over the weekend to spray and douse each other with water in what is considered the world’s largest water fight during the Songkran Festival.
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) extended this year’s celebration, which began on April 1, to April 21 to commemorate the festival’s inscription on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2023. Songkran is traditionally celebrated for three days.
The details:
  • In addition to the locals, many foreigners also reveled in the water fight celebration, which also serves as a cleansing ritual to wash away sins and bad luck.
  • While the massive water fights that took place in many major areas across the country, including Bangkok, only lasted for three days, the activity was a whole-day event, with people celebrating from morning till late at night in the streets.
  • Aside from water fights, there were also concerts, shows and parades organized near Bangkok’s Grand Palace, the official residence of the King of Thailand.
  • Regarded as the biggest and most important annual festival in Thailand, Songkran is traditionally celebrated from the first full moon in April. The festival is celebrated in accordance with the lunisolar Theravada Buddhist calendar.
  • Other traditional celebrations in the Thai New Year festival also include spring cleaning and the pouring of scented water onto sacred Buddha statues and images in temples. This ceremony symbolizes purification as people wash away the previous year while welcoming the new year.
The accidents:
  • Meanwhile, Thai transport officials logged 936 road-related accidents in multiple areas from April 11 to 13 across the country amid the celebration. Nearly 1,000 people were injured, and 116 people died. Withaya Yamuang, deputy permanent secretary for transport, cited speeding and drunk driving as the most common causes of road accidents during that time.
  • While Bangkok authorities closed many major roads in the city for the festival, Thailand still saw a significant number of accidents and fatalities on Saturday.
  • According to Withaya, authorities recorded 392 traffic accidents, 411 injuries, and 48 fatalities across the country on that day alone.
  • Bangkok had the highest death toll on that day at four, followed by Chanthaburi, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Phetchabun with three each, Withaya said. About 342 of the accidents reported on Saturday involved motorcyles, the official added.
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