April 15, 2002

Ritual Annointment Gone Mad

Songkran is the Thai New Year and stretches for a few days at the transition
of the dry to the rainy season. It is the time when homes are cleaned, some
novices enter the monestaries, and so on. Traditionally, Thais show respect
for their elders by sprinkling water on the shoulder or hands of their
elders, and also pouring scented water over buddhas. But it's become a
little carried away and is now a full on three-day water fight. Everyone on
the streets is armed with some sort of weapon, be it just a plastic bucket
or a squirt gun or a super soaker or a simple 2'x1" water piston. The moat
surrounding the old city is the major area for the water war, as there is a
ready supply of water. (Green, but they actually empty and refill the moat a
month before so it's mostly clean.) And it's also surrounded by a road, so
you can go cruising around all day long in your pickup truck, the back
filled with a 50 gallon drum and lots of people. It's truck vs. truck, and
people along the side vs. trucks, and people vs people. At least it's all in
good fun--it's the westerners who cause the biggest problems, aiming at
people's heads and squirting people after dark, but it's not really a big
deal.

Yesterday was the big parade of the buddha images from the temples through
town, and tomorrow is supposedly the last and most crazy day... two more
days of being soaking wet, wanted or not.

--Matthew

Posted by MBlain at April 15, 2002 12:00 AM
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