Is Thailand’s Songkran Water Festival Out of Control?
The first time I ever experienced the Songkran festival it was fun and cute I was in a small village few hours North of Bangkok and only one of a few hundred revelers which consisted mainly of children. Everyone else either stayed home and went to the temple where a circle of maybe 20 big drums of water were there and when they were empty it was all over. A few hours of mayhem and then the rest of the time was really fun. So how did It get from that to the utter madness of celebrating Songkran in any large city in Thailand?
Songkran is supposed to mean something but the meaning is all but lost when you walk down the street smashed with ice cold water. Thai's have been living with the barbarianism for their whole lives now so they can take it in their stride but for many westerners we lose our patience pretty quickly and mine is wearing thin.
To say the Songkran water festival is out of control isn't an alarm bell but a reality that everyone has to endure, but why? Why on earth has it got so damn crazy.
People die in Songkran and I'm not talking about a couple of people I'm talking about hundreds of people all over the country die due to this crazy festival. Sure accidents are caused by stupid thrill seeking individuals however it's the policing and dis-organization of Thailand's biggest and craziest festival that is making it out of control.
People can't go to work because it's too dangerous to get there not just to them but to their vehicles as well. Hundreds and thousands of people in Thailand go out and shop for a weeks worth of food and lock themselves inside too afraid to go out into the total carnage of the Songkran water festival in Thailand.
I remember in Australia we used to have what was called "Firecracker night" it was probably my most favorite holiday as a child besides Christmas. Nowadays they don't have firecracker night because firecrackers are now illegal to purchase in NSW. This was all done for safety reasons and for similar reasons as Thailand should introduce some sort of control for this out of control festival.
Don't get me wrong I'm not a stickler at all I still enjoy the festival but really is it really something you should be doing for a whole week long? I can't go to the post office I can't get to my favorite restaurants, I don't go shopping, I don't go clubbing in fact I spend less money on Songkran than I do at any other time of the year because I can't or won't want to go anywhere. You really think that's helping the economy at all?
As I said I do like the biggest water festival on earth but still wouldn't it be awesome if they said you can only do water throwing in these particular areas similar to how they do Independence day in America and let off firecrackers in only those cities that allow firecrackers. Then I could know that if I was on Sukhumvit Id get soaked but if I was walking around Lard Praow then I'd be dry. I could totally work around that and give a lot less reasons to bitch about this great Festival.
Really the celebrations are out of control for Time (it goes for too long) Location (It's done bloody everywhere) and lastly on Rules (You can throw water at anything with a heart beat). I'm not saying cancel Christmas (Songkran) I'm just simply saying implement some zoning and time rules for those who want to stay dry.