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Songkran Water Festival, Thailand

Songkran Water Festival

The Water Festival is the New Year's celebrations that take place in Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand as well as Yunnan, China. It is called the 'Water Festival' by Westerners because people splash / pour water at one another as part of the cleansing ritual to welcome the new year. Traditionally people gently sprinkled water on one another as a sign of respect, but as the new year falls during the hottest month in South East Asia, many people end up dousing strangers and passersby in vehicles in boisterous celebration. The act of pouring water is also a show of blessings and good wishes. It is believed that on this Water Festival, everything old must be thrown away, or it will bring the owner bad luck.

The annual Water Splashing Festival of the Dai ethnic minority falls during the New Year celebrations of the Dai Calendar. It is the most important festival observed by the Dai ethnic people of Xishuangbanna Prefecture, and, similar to its direct neighbor Laos' Songkran festival, it involves three days of celebrations that include sincere, yet light-hearted religious rituals that invariably end in merrymaking, where everyone ends up getting splashed, sprayed or doused with water.