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Songkran Water Festival - Southeast Asia New Year, Chiang Mai

April 13th marks the New Year in South East Asia. This date coincides with their ancient lunar and solar calendars, hence the difference from the Chinese and Western New Year. The celebration of the New Year lasts several days and is known as Songkran in Thailand. What makes this celebration different is the incorporation of water into festivities. The water symbolizes the washing away of the past year's sins to create a fresh, clean slate for the new year. To wash away the sins you obviously need a heck of a lot of water. A deluge of water in fact. The several days of Songkran are really a large scale water fight more than anything else. Everything shuts down, people grab squirt guns and pales of water, and you get soaked where ever you go. Businesses even get in on the fun and often have hoses soaking people passing by on the street. Pick-up trucks with 50 gallon drums of water and revelers in the back throwing water on people is a common sight. Blocks of ice are delivered to chill the water just because what's better than an ice cold water fight in one hundred degree temperatures??? As a westerner not accustomed to this tradition, it was rather difficult to comprehend the "why" of a five day water fight. All in fun and all in tradition I suppose. It does become a hassle trying to stay dry when venturing our to grab a bite to eat. Some people were very respectful when asked not to throw water on you, some would just pour a little on you or spritz you with a few drops - like the little girl seen in the last photo - so sweet. Images courtesy of our waterproofed iphone.

We went to where all the action was taking place in Nimman neighborhood.

Check out the sprinklers!!!

Here are some more victims on the way to dinner... :)

There is no escaping it! They even get you from the songthaew taxis!!!

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