Southeast Asia celebrates new year with gigantic water festival

Locals and tourists in Thailand and Myanmar came out Monday to celebrate the beginning of the massive multi-day water festival that marks the new year.

Called Thingyan in Myanmar and Songkran in Thailand, people traditionally celebrate the holiday by dousing family members with water as a sign of respect to Buddha. In recent years the celebration has grown into a much wilder event in most major cities and tourist destinations with locals and foreigners coming together joyfully.

In places like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, people line the streets with buckets of ice-cold water and super soaker-style squirt guns to playfully spray each other throughout the day and sometimes into the evening.

While the festival officially began on Monday, celebrations began early in some places, and dozens of Songkran-related fatalities were reported as of Sunday by the Bangkok Post, with drunk driving and speeding mentioned as the primary factors.

Thais Celebrate Traditional New Year with a Splash
Thais Celebrate Traditional New Year with a Splash