Summer is coming to an end. For many, summer ends when school starts. The summer holidays were exciting and full of memories. Days were spent at the pool or in the yard with sprinklers. Many memorable activities involve water fights, especially during the days with scorching heat. The fourth of July, one of the most iconic American holidays, came and went with fireworks and hotdogs. People ventured out to enjoy parades and eat American foods. This is a well known holiday in the United States, however summer celebrations take place across the globe in many different exciting forms.
According to ImJirathip Veerawattananon, or Im for short, a native of Thailand, Songkran is the most spectacular celebration of the summer. This event occurs during the hot and sunny days of April, around the Thai New Year. Traditionally, children put water on the hands of the elders to cleanse away the children’s bad deeds. This activity still happens within the family households, but the festival has grown much larger. Everyone in the neighborhood will emerge onto the streets and start throwing water on each other.
It does not matter if you have not met before. Strangers will participate and meet each other along the way. There are people with anything from squirt guns to buckets, hoses, or cups, ready to throw water on strangers. Not all of the activities are surprises. The Thai culture is polite and reverent. Some have reported that people will ask permission to throw water on each other. Amongst friends, games can turn into surprise soakings, but still friendly. But on the other hand, Im says that people don’t necessarily ask all the time, they just throw. It is common to see guys ask permission to throw water on girls to be polite.
In any case, these activities sound like living in one giant water park. The unexpected splashing is accepted, as the temperature breaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or roughly 38 degrees Celsius. There are two seasons in Thailand: rainy and not rainy. April falls right in the middle of the not rainy season, lending to the high temperatures. The celebration sounds outstanding. It is the summer event children dream of. Not only is it nationwide fun, but also there are plenty chances to meet new people and grow as a community.
The day isn’t completely mischief and water tossing. Many people go to their Wat to pray and give food to monks. Additionally, people wash their Buddha images with a mixture of water and fragrances as homage to start the New Year with a clean slate.
Alas, our summer is over, but there is always next summer. The 4th of July celebration could be extended to include a plethora of water activities. After all, what better way to cool off from the July heat than with fun water activities.
ImJirathip graduated from Mohidol University International College and is a co-owner
of Cater to You, a bakery/catering business.