Published: 10:38, April 13, 2024
Thailand kicks off Songkran water festival with a splash
By Reuters
Revelers take part in a parade amidst mass water fights on the eve of Songkran, or Thai New Year, on Khao San Road in Bangkok on April 12, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

BANGKOK - Revelers in Thailand started the traditional new year or Songkran water festival with a splash on Friday, cooling off from the city's heat by throwing water at each other on the streets of the capital Bangkok.

"(Songkran) has a lot of meaning to me because I could meet friends I hadn't met since high school or university. It's very fun to meet with my old friends," said 18-year-old local Chavanin Kalayanamitra.

A family navigates on a motorbike amidst mass water fights on the eve of Songkran, or Thai New Year, on Khao San Road in Bangkok on April 12, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)
Revelers take part in mass water fights on the eve of Songkran, or Thai New Year, on Khao San Road in Bangkok on April 12, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

Pouring water symbolizes cleansing, reverence and good fortune in an ancient ritual that has grown in recent decades into what is sometimes described as the world's biggest water fight.

The boisterous festival, which officially lasts for three days but always goes on longer, is a major draw for tourists.

"It's like a completely different world, you know. We love it," said Flora, 30, a tourist from France.

Revelers take part in mass water fights on the eve of Songkran, or Thai New Year, on Khao San Road in Bangkok on April 12, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)
Revelers take part in mass water fights on the eve of Songkran, or Thai New Year, on Khao San Road in Bangkok on April 12, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

People drenched in water sprayed each other with water guns on Bangkok's famous backpacker Khao San Road.

"We just flew to Thailand and it's amazing to be here for the festival," said Chloe, 25, another French tourist.

The festival, which is also celebrated in neighboring Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, falls at the hottest time of year when temperatures can climb above 40 degrees Celsius.