We are back in Thailand, on our way to the island of Koh Tao. The bad news and good news is that the Songkran Festival starts this weekend. The good part is that the whole town is celebratingâ€”it’s one humungous party. On the other hand, you can’t step outside without getting wet. Not only are you squirted with water from high-power water guns by Thais and “farangs” (foreigners) alike, you are smeared with a white paste, a mixture of a talcum-like powder and water. This page explains that “originally this powder or paste was applied to the face, neck or torso of others as a sign of protection or to ward off evil.” Yesterday a normal 10 minute walk to the guesthouse turned into a 30-minute duck-and-sprint exercise. I made it back alive, but drenched and pasted.
Today is even worseâ€”truckloads of kids are cruising around dumping water on all the pedestrians, cars, and tuk-tuk taxis. Traffic is backed up. Not even Police officers, little old ladies or monks can escape the water and paste attacks. Everyone seems to accept it with good humor though. Many Thais have keenly left town this weekend. We hope to too, while staying dry.
A little about Songkran:
The word “Songkran” means moving or passing. In astrology, Songkran refers to the period that the sun passes each zodiac constellation. During the time the sun moves from Pieces to Aries, the number of hours on earth during the day and the night is equal. This phenomenon, known as “Maha Songkran”, marks the beginning of the Thai New Year.