PHOTO: Get ready to get wet when celebrating New Year in Thailand. (Photo via Flickr/Madeleine Deaton)
If you are traveling around Asia during the New Year—in April this between the 13th to the 16th—get ready to get soaked.
The often bewildering heat is counteracted by water parties in many predominantly Buddhist countries, which is sprayed on visitors and locals alike in a jovial spirit. The April New Year’s celebration is a Buddhist festival and is celebrated with much fanfare around the region.
In Thailand, the event is known as “Songkran” and the festivities begin on April 13 and continue for four days. Usually, the water guns, concerts and parties break out in the streets, but according to a report in TravelWireAsia, Thailand has taken measures to tone down this year’s celebrations to mourn the passing of the king.
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According to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) governor, loud music and dancing on the backs of pickup trucks and wearing revealing clothing, consuming alcohol, using water guns, street concerts and “powder-pasting” are all discouraged.
Things will be more festive in Myanmar. The festival, known as Thingyan, also uses water cannons, pistols and buckets to cool off revelers attending neighborhood concerts that take place throughout the night. The nation’s capital, Yangon, is the epicenter of entertainment during this time.
In Laos, Pii Mai, is celebrated April 14-16. Its origins are also rooted in its Buddhist culture and, while days are filled with religious activities, evenings are filled with music, dance and, of course, water.
The best way to wish someone “happy New Year” is to say “sok dii pimai” (meaning “good luck New Year”) and then drench them with water.
Yet, if you miss out on the water festival fun in April, there is one more shot in the fall.
The Cambodian Water Festival takes place in October or November, depending on when the dry season ends. The celebration marks the change in the flow of the water in the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers.
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The festival is known as Bon Om Touk and includes boat races and concerts. The largest of the celebrations takes place in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh where crowds gather in the millions along the banks of the river.
Whatever you do when visiting Asia during the New Year, plan accordingly and leave the see-through clothing at home.