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The Songkran festival in Thailand is celebrated from April 13 to April 15. However those who stay in Pattaya get to celebrate Songkran day two times. The traditional dates April 13 to 15 and again from April 19 to April 21. This can sometimes stretch out to be one long Thai New Year water festival, beginning slowly on the 15th mainly celebrated by traditionalists, then a noticable crescendo until the last day on the 21st. From April 19 to April 21 is when the foreigners join in for one big water throwing party on the last Songkran day.
Songkran day was originally celebrated only in the north of Thailand. Now it is celebrated nationwide. To most people Songkran appears to be just a water throwing festival. The Thais arm themselves with water pistols or water containers, such as those used for bathing, and roam the streets drenching each other. They also mount their pick up trucks with large drums of water on board and drive around the streets pouring water over anyone within range. Such is the Thai New Year water festival.
Thais who live or work away from their home village return home to their familys and pay respect to thier parents. This is usually done in the morning time before lunch on Songkran day. The older member of the family sits while the other family members gently pour water over the hands of the elder. The water is usually blessed by a monk or is water that is captured during the cleansing of household Buddha images.They sometimes mix flower pettles or a Thai fragrance with the water. During this short ceremony the family members will ask the elder forgiveness for any misunderstandings that occured during the year. Thais also use Songkran day to do some spring cleaning around the household.
In recent years water throwing evolved as part of the home celebration. After the morning blessings were completed the younger members of the family were permitted to run around outside the household tossing water at each other. This activity evolved further to include dousing neighbors and people in the street with water to relieve the April heat. Then came the water fights.